DA slams SA government for defending the military exercise with Russia

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The Democratic Alliance has criticised the South African government for defending the military exercise with Russia scheduled for next month off the coast of KwaZulu-Natal while Moscow continues with its invasion of Ukraine.

Russia invaded Ukraine almost a year ago claiming it wanted to degasify and demilitarise the country.

Ukraine had expressed an interest in joining the EU and NATO.

Moscow has suffered some setbacks in recent months, with Ukraine reclaiming large parts of Kharkiv and Kherson.

South Africa has come under fire for taking a neutral stance regarding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

DA Leader, John Steenhuisen says Pretoria cannot stand by while many civilians are being killed in Ukraine by Russia.

“South Africa has tried to cloak its support for Russia under the cloud of neutrality. You are not neutral when you are hosting a Russian ambassador at a function on the NATO invasion and when you are doing naval exercises South Africa is not neutral in any way. They are indistinctly in bed with Russia and this administration refuses to condemn Russia’s unwarranted invasion of Ukraine,” he said.

Minister of International Relations Dr Naledi Pandor has defended the government against this criticism.

“Military exercise question, I did not add that we had military exercises with the United States and France last year and this question was not asked. All over the world countries conduct military exercises. There should be no compulsion for any country that it can’t conduct them with any of its partners and it’s part of natural cause of relations and we need to explain this to the public.”

High-profile visits for SA: