West News Wire: According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the trilateral “Mosi II” exercises got underway on Wednesday near the South African port of Richards Bay. During the weekend, the navies of South Africa, China, and Russia are to conduct artillery training in the Indian Ocean.

Leading representatives and commanders from the Russian Navy, Chinese Naval Forces, and South Africa’s Joint Command oversaw the opening event. Representatives of Brazil’s naval forces will also be present to watch the maneuvers.

The frigate Admiral Gorshkov and the medium marine tanker Kama will be participating in the exercises for Russia. China has sent its supply ship Kekesilihu, destroyer Huainan, and frigate Rizhao. The Frigate Mendy will be sent out by the South African Navy.

“The active part of the exercise will take place from February 25 to 27. Joint artillery firing and tactical maneuvering will be carried out at sea. Sailors of the three countries will work out the actions of inspection teams to search and release a captured ship, provide assistance to a ship in distress, and repel enemy air attacks,” a statement from the Russian Defense Ministry’s press service read.

Speaking to the audience attending the opening ceremony on Wednesday, the commander-in-chief of the Russian Navy, Admiral Nikolay Evmenov, stated that “the Russian navy is deeply interested in strengthening naval cooperation between Russian, Chinese and South African sailors.”

The three nations conducted similar exercises in 2019. This time, however, South Africa has faced criticism for participating in the drills. The Democratic Alliance, an opposition party, has claimed that the move suggests the country has sided with Russia in the conflict in Ukraine. The government, however, has defended its position by noting that it also routinely engages in naval exercises with other nations such as France and the US.

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