So, has a Russian-flagged commercial ship just loaded up artillery or explosive or propellant at the Simon’s Town naval base in the middle of Moscow’s war on Ukraine, or have we been bamboozled into assuming the worst by a cockup rather than a conspiracy? Or has it all been a little bit of both?

The surprise appearance of the Lady R in Simon’s Town on December 6 quickly set tongues wagging, especially as Cape Town’s port is close by and the governing ANC has made clear its sympathy for the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The US embassy in Pretoria said the SA authorities had been warned the ship was under US sanctions and that assisting it might invite US retaliation...

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