Friday marks the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Russia is reportedly planning a wave of new offensives in eastern and southern Ukraine to mark the anniversary. But it will also use the date to stage mock war drills, together with China and SA, off the coastline of KwaZulu-Natal — testing its naval capacities and also, reportedly, its new hypersonic Zircon missile.

SA’s hosting of, and participation in, this joint military exercise over this ominous date has justifiably drawn accusations that the country has utterly abandoned its claimed neutrality between Russia and Ukraine. The Desmond & Leah Tutu Foundation has said the exercise is “tantamount to a declaration that SA is joining the war against Ukraine on Russia’s side”...

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