2023-01-25 12:21:44

U.S. concerned as South Africa to hold war games with Russia, China on Ukraine invasion anniversary

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CBS News
By Sarah Carter

Johannesburg — Next month, on the one-year anniversary of the start of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, South Africa will be hosting Russian and Chinese forces for a joint naval exercise. The timing of the drills — which were apparently planned during Russian President Vladimir Putin's unprovoked assault on Ukraine — have the U.S. "concerned," and will at the very least present South Africa with a diplomatic challenge as the world marks a year of brutal warfare with no end in sight.

The South African National Defense Force has said "Exercise Mosi II" will be held between February 17 and 27 off the country's Indian Ocean coast, to share "operational skills and knowledge."

South African foreign minister Naledi Pandor deflected criticism this week of the looming military drills, saying it was merely "an exercise with friends."

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (L) meets South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor during his official visit in Pretoria, South Africa, January 23, 2023. Ihsaan Haffejee/Anadolu Agency/Getty

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