South African President Cyril Ramaphosa participated in the opening ceremony for the trilateral naval drills involving Russia, China and South Africa.
The naval exercise, named Mosi II, is taking place off South Africa's Indian Ocean coast.
Speaking on the opening ceremony, Russian Navy Commander, Adm. Nikolai Yevmenov, reaffirmed the close ties between the three countries.
“(This, Ed.) certainly became a landmark event, confirming the high level of cooperation between our countries. This fact speaks of our deep interest in strengthening naval cooperation aimed at ensuring security in the world's oceans and countering new threats at sea”, said the high-ranking Russian officer.
According to the South African government, at least 350 members of South Africa's navy and other military branches are participating in the exercise, the second time since 2019 the three countries organise naval drills.
“Now the South African Defence Force is guarding vital infrastructure against those who would endanger the security of the state to advance their own personal interests. We have deployed them in vital areas where we have our infrastructure. For instance at Eskom and in various other parts, water systems and so forth”, said South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.
The armed exercise takes place against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine and increased tensions between China and the US.
The ships participating in the maritime drills include a Russian frigate, the Admiral Gorshkov, which is armed with hypersonic missiles, as well as an oil tanker for refueling, a South African frigate and three Chinese ships - a destroyer, a frigate and a support vessel.