US Ambassador Accuses South Africa of Supplying Russia With Weapons

Pretoria hit back at the accusation

The US ambassador to South Africa has accused the nation of secretly supplying Russia with weapons, a claim that drew a rebuke from Pretoria.

US Ambassador Reuben Brigety said he knew that a Russian ship that docked in South Africa in December was loaded with weapons but did not provide evidence for the claim.

“We are confident that weapons were loaded on to that vessel and I would bet my life on the accuracy of that assertion,” Brigety said. “The arming of Russia by South Africa … is fundamentally unacceptable.”

The accusation is sure to strain ties with South Africa as the office of President  Cyril Ramaphosa has said it was “disappointing” Brigety made the charge while an investigation was ongoing.

Vincent Magwenya, a spokesman for Ramaphosa, said the US and South Africa had agreed to let an investigation into the Russian ship run its course and that US intelligence could provide what evidence it had.

“It is therefore disappointing that the US Ambassador has adopted a counterproductive public posture that undermines the understanding reached on the matter,” Magwenya said.

South Africa’s neutral stance has angered the US as Pretoria has not gone along with sanctions against Russia. South Africa also recently conducted joint military exercises with Russia and China.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.