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South Africa faces US scrutiny over alleged arms transfers to Russia


The South African government has confirmed that it is investigating a US charge that it supplied arms to Russia in breach of international sanctions. The US has alleged that South Africa exported arms worth $10 million to Russia between 2014 and 2022, despite a UN arms embargo imposed on Moscow over its involvement in the Ukraine conflict.

The US Department of State said in a statement that it had notified the South African government of its findings and urged it to take appropriate action to prevent further violations. The statement said that the US had evidence that South Africa had transferred military equipment, including rifles, ammunition, and night vision devices, to Russia through intermediaries and front companies.

The South African Department of International Relations and Cooperation said in a statement that it was aware of the US charge and was conducting an internal investigation. The statement said that South Africa was committed to upholding its international obligations and respecting the UN Security Council resolutions. The statement also said that South Africa had a robust and transparent system of arms control and export regulation.

The South African Department of Defence said in a statement that it was cooperating with the investigation and would provide any information requested by the relevant authorities. The statement said that the department had no knowledge of any illegal arms transfers to Russia and that it followed strict procedures and protocols when dealing with arms exports.

The US charge could have serious implications for South Africa’s relations with both the US and Russia, two of its major trading partners. South Africa is a member of the BRICS group of emerging economies, along with Russia, China, India, and Brazil. South Africa is also a beneficiary of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which grants preferential access to the US market for certain products from eligible African countries.

The US charge could also damage South Africa’s reputation as a responsible and credible actor in the international arena. South Africa is currently a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council and has been vocal in promoting peace and security in Africa and beyond.

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