News That Matters


South Africa Accused of Supplying Arms to Russia, EU Tackles Sanctions Evasion, and China Pushes for Peace in Ukraine

The US ambassador to South Africa, Reuben Brigety, has accused the country of supplying weapons to Russia after a Russian ship was allegedly loaded with arms in Cape Town in December. South Africa has denied the claims and announced an independent inquiry. The US has expressed concern about South Africa's relationship with Russia, including its participation in military exercises with Russia and China. South Africa abstained from a UN vote condemning the invasion and refused to join the US and Europe in imposing sanctions on Russia. President Cyril Ramaphosa has stated that the US ambassador's comments will be investigated.

South Africa's ties with Russia stem from its membership in the BRICS alliance and long-standing ties with the African National Congress (ANC). Historically, South Africa's arms industry has sold weapons to countries across the continent. South African authorities expect the US to provide evidence for the claims.

The European Union is discussing plans to target those helping Russia evade international sanctions. The European Commission proposed new measures to crack down on circumvention during the 11th round of sanctions. EU-Russia trade is heavily restricted, with a new focus on people, companies, and countries suspected of acting as transit destinations for sanctioned products. The 11th round of sanctions could target companies or countries accused of selling sanctioned goods to Russia. The EU may use access to its internal market, criminal proceedings, or a blacklist as leverage against sanctions evasion. China has warned against extraterritorial sanctions and may impose countersanctions.

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang recently visited Germany, France, and Norway from May 8 to 12, 2023, aiming to strengthen dialogue and trust between China and Europe. The main theme of the visit was promoting bilateral practical cooperation. During the visit, agreements were made to strengthen cooperation on COP28 and biodiversity. Europe is currently reflecting on its perception and strategy towards China.

In Ukraine, ground troops commander Oleksander Syrsky reported advancements around the eastern hotspot town of Bakhmut. The battle for Bakhmut is the bloodiest and longest since the Russian invasion on February 24, 2022. Kyiv aims to tire the Russian army and draw resources to Donbas before launching a counter-offensive, with preparations "nearing completion."

China's special envoy for Eurasian affairs, Li Hui, is set to visit Ukraine, Poland, France, Germany, and Russia starting May 15, aiming to communicate with all parties on a political solution to the Ukraine crisis. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin announced Li's visit, stating that China aims to play a constructive role and build international consensus on ending hostilities, starting peace talks, and preventing escalation.

As global tensions rise, the need for open dialogue and cooperation becomes increasingly vital. With South Africa facing accusations of supplying arms to Russia, the EU tackling sanctions evasion, and China pushing for peace in Ukraine, the world watches and waits for resolutions to emerge.