The leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), South Africa’s third-largest political party, has said he would “supply weapons to Russia” because Moscow is “in a war with imperialism”.
In an interview with the BBC in Johannesburg, Julius Malema insisted that “South Africa is an ally of Russia” and that the ANC government’s position of non-alignment only applied to the war in Ukraine.
“I will go beyond the friendship with Russia. In the war, I will align with Russia and I will even supply the weapons,” Mr Malema told HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur.
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The EFF also wants South Africa to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The ICC has issued an arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin for alleged war crimes but Mr Malema has pledged to prevent any attempt to arrest the Russian president if he attends next month’s Brics summit in Cape Town.
Mr Malema made the comments following a diplomatic row in which the US ambassador to South Africa alleged that weapons and ammunition were loaded onto a Russian vessel docked in the country last December.
The South African government has denied approving any arms shipments to Russia.