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For its own good, SA must take the regional lead against Russia

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For its own good, SA must take the regional lead against Russia

Russia’s relationship with Africa, especially its use of disinformation , is a threat to the continent’s stability

George Philipas

In the cacophony of diplomatic noise that followed the Russian invasion of Ukraine, SA’s swift statement released by the department of international relations and cooperation (Dirco) hours after the start of the invasion and calling out Russia directly went largely unnoticed.

Unique among Brics, its underlying tone was notably different in its directness. The change in tone was even noticed by the Russian embassy which, in its usual cold, curt and cutting fashion, responded on social media with the simple sentence: “Kindly refrain from interfering.”

To what extent this will mark a turning point in relations between the two remains to be seen. But for some, a change of tact hasn’t come fast enough. For Russia’s engagement with Africa, and in particular, its disinformation campaigns and its “mercenaries-for-mining-concessions” model that preys on weak and largely undemocratic African states, is seen by many as a direct threat to the long-term stability of the continent and even SA.  ..

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