South Africa Didn't Know a US-Sanctioned Russian Ship Carried Its Military Purchases, Inquiry Finds
JOHANNESBURG (AP) South African officials did not know a sanctioned Russian ship was assigned to deliver military equipment to the country until the vessel was nearing national waters, according to an inquiry into an incident that caused diplomatic tensions between South Africa and the U.S.
U.S. Ambassador Reuben Brigety accused South Africa in May of having weapons intended for Russia loaded on to the Lady R when the container ship docked near Cape Town in December. The ship is under U.S. sanctions for ties to a company that transported arms for Russia's war on Ukraine.
South Africa denied there was a government-approved deal to ship weapons to Russia from the country, which officially has taken a non-aligned stance on the Ukraine war. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa appointed a three-person panel led by a retired judge to oversee an inquiry into the matter.
An executive summary of the panels report released Tuesday night stated that the ship offloaded military equipment but no weapons were loaded onto it. The panel also said that South African officials had no say in how the equipment ordered from the United Arab Emirates was shipped.