What drives the ANC’s pro-Russia policy and where will it lead?
A year ago, Russia invaded Ukraine. At that point a quick “special military operation” was predicted to “demilitarize and denazify” Ukraine. But President Putin soon declared that he also wanted to secure the independence of eastern Ukrainian territories and to protect the inhabitants from Ukrainian “bullying and genocide”.
The UN General Assembly denounced the Russian invasion as an act of aggression and a violation of the UN Charter in a vote in which South Africa abstained. That resolution said the UN “deplores in the strongest terms the aggression by the Russian Federation against Ukraine”. It demanded that Russia “immediately cease its use of force against Ukraine” and “unconditionally withdraw all of its military forces”. The West has imposed sanctions on Moscow, while the International Criminal Court has begun collecting evidence of war crimes.
Pretoria chose a very different path in its response to this war. Senior South African politicians and the President made pro Russia statements, invited the Russian Foreign Minister for an official visit and allowed Russian war ships into local ports. Joint naval exercises with Russian and Chinese vessels took place during the same week that saw the commemoration of one year of fighting in Ukraine. The country of Nelson Mandela apparently stands firmly with Russia in this war.
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