South Africa denied U.S. accusations that it had supplied Russia with weapons and ammunition, Reuters reported on May 12.
The Financial Times reported on May 11 that U.S. officials were "confident" that "weapons and ammunition were loaded onto the Lady R, a Russian vessel under sanctions that docked at Simon’s Town naval dockyard near Cape Town in December."
Authorities in one of South Africa's major export and tourism hubs told Reuters that it would make "zero economic sense" to aid Russia given its trade relationship with the U.S. and the inevitable sanctions that would follow.
According to Reuters, South African officials, when pressed for comment, did not answer if an unapproved shipment had left South Africa.
Clayson Monyela, a spokeperson for South Africa’s department of international relations and cooperation, planned to speak to the U.S. ambassador to South Africa, while Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor planned talk to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Reuters wrote.
This news is the latest scandal involving South Africa, Russia, and the ongoing war in Ukraine.
On April 30, South Africa's Sunday Times reported that South African officials were trying to persuade Russian dictator Vladimir Putin not to come to South Africa for a BRICS summit in August due to the International Criminal Court's warrant for his arrest.
South Africa, as one of the 123 countries party to the Rome Statute, would be obliged to execute arrest warrants issued by the ICC.
The office said the statement was a "communication error" that the African National Congress (ANC) made during a media briefing.