The commander of South Africa’s ground forces is in Moscow for talks, the country’s military said Monday, confirming earlier Russian media reports, days after Washington accused Pretoria of secretly providing arms to Russia.
The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) “confirms that the Chief of the SA Army, Lieutenant-General Lawrence Mbatha is in Moscow… for a bilateral between the two military establishments".
The meeting was “planned well in advance" as part of “a long-standing arrangement", the SANDF said in a statement, adding it was a “goodwill visit" at the invitation of the Russian army.
Citing the country’s defence ministry, Russian news agencies had earlier Monday said Mbatha was heading a delegation that discussed “issues relating to military cooperation and interaction".
Last Thursday the US ambassador to Pretoria Reuben Brigety said that the United States believed weapons and ammunition had been laden onto a Russian freighter that docked at a Cape Town naval base in December.