Russian embassy defends Lady R visit to South Africa


The Russian Embassy in South Africa has said the United States totally fabricated allegations that South Africa loaded weaponry aboard the Russian vessel Lady R in December last year.

In a statement released on 16 May, the Embassy noted that US Ambassador Reuben Brigety had accused South Africa of sending weapons to Russia despite having provided no evidence to support his allegations except that he would “bet his life on the accuracy of the assertion.”

“Appointing guilty parties at own discretion and resorting to ‘megaphone diplomacy’ have become typical characteristics of US foreign policy,” the Embassy said, adding that, “in this context, the words of the US’ official cannot be perceived otherwise than as an attempt to sway the independent sovereign state’s foreign policy. This comes as no surprise, as the US seems to have lost its ability to interact with partners on equal basis long ago. One’s friendship with the US is only possible under US rules.”

The Embassy further alleged that there is “a campaign to pressure South Africa, obviously coordinated with Western mainstream media” over South Africa’s non-aligned position with regard to the Ukraine conflict.

The docking of the Lady R in Simons Town “is being used as a pretext – totally fabricated”, the Embassy said, and as false as the information provided by the United States to the United Nations Security Council to justify the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

“If Ambassador Brigety takes this matter seriously then why doesn’t he explain why Russia would need SA-produced arms and ammunition matching neither the types nor the calibres of the systems currently in service with Russia’s armed forces and how such a minuscule amount of ‘arms and ammunition’ that was allegedly ‘uploaded onto the vessel’ would influence the situation on the battlefield anyway?” the Russian Embassy asked.

The Russians further accused the US of double standards and hypocrisy as it has supplied billions of dollars’ worth of weaponry to Ukraine, which is “being used to attack cities in Donbass, as well as Bryansk and Belgorod regions of Russia daily.”

Defence Minister Thandi Modise on Tuesday said South Africa had provided nothing to Russia and she was tired of “anti-Russia phobia”.

Also on Tuesday, International Relations Minister Naledi Pandor said she had met with Brigety on Friday and he had apologised for his behaviour but maintained the allegations.