Kremlin releases readout of a call between Ramaphosa, Putin

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The Kremlin has issued a readout of a call between Presidents Cyril Ramaphosa and Vladimir Putin, a day after the United States accused Pretoria of providing weapons and ammunition to the Russian army.

South Africa has since indicated that arms to Russia were not sanctioned or approved by the National Conventional Arms Control Committee and launched an investigation into the allegation leveled by Washington’s envoy to the country.

Moscow says the call with South Africa’s head of state was at the request of Pretoria.

The Kremlin readout comes as United States Ambassador to South Africa Rueben Brigety was summoned by the Department of International Relations to explain his comments to local media yesterday in which he was emphatic that weapons and ammunition transfers had taken place.

Moscow says they discussed topical issues of the strategic partnership between the two countries as both expressed the need for further activation of mutually beneficial ties in various fields.

They noted the importance of continuing close coordination ahead of the second Russia-Africa summit to be held in St Petersburg in July and the BRICS Summit to be hosted in Johannesburg in August while also discussing issues of global food security and the need for grain and fertilizer by African states in particular.

The Kremlin also indicated that it supported the idea expressed by President Ramaphosa for the participation of a group of African leaders in discussing the prospects for resolving the conflict in Ukraine, adding that President Putin outlined his fundamental assessments of the destructive line of the Ukrainian government and its patrons and that Russia had never refused to work on the diplomatic track.

The United States earlier expressed its concerns. State Department Spokesperson Vedant Patel says, “We remain committed to our affirmative agenda of our bilateral relationship with South Africa, one that is focused on the priorities the two governments share, priorities that the recent high level delegation to Washington discussed. These include issues of global peace and security, further growing the robust trade relationship, working together on shared a shared health agenda, and finding ways in which we, the United States, can be helpful to South Africa’s energy challenges through a just transition of renewable sources of energy as well as continued partnerships on work as it relates to addressing climate change.

“That being said as we have previously said, the US has serious concerns about the docking of a sanctioned Russian cargo vessel at a South African naval port in December of last year. And as good partners do, we have raised those concerns directly with multiple South African officials,” explains Patel.

The Department of International Relations also pointed to an expected call between Minister Naledi Pandor and her US counterpart Antony Blinken later Friday.

SA-US Relations I South Africa’s government not happy with US Ambassador arms remarks:

A senior US official told SABC News on Thursday that it would be wise for countries to step back from any kind of engagement with the Russian military but would not be drawn on whether any possible punitive measures were being considered.

Washington continues to take a dim view of countries supporting Russia’s aggression in Ukraine saying it would continue to engage on the importance of upholding the UN Charter.