On Wednesday morning, the day before the first Russia-Africa Summit begins in the Russian city of Sochi, two of the country’s Tu-160 long-range bombers and two cargo planes, an Antonov An-124 and an Ilyushin IL-62, arrive the Waterkloof Air Force Base in Pretoria.
Russian news agency Tass reports the purpose of the aircraft’s visit is to promote military cooperation between South Africa and Russia.
The Russian aircraft will be accompanied by its Gripen and Hawk aircraft on its way to Waterkloof, the army said in a statement.
The visit will coincide with a seminar on members of the two Air Forces in Irene in Centurion.
Several African heads of state are expected at the Sochi summit.
Pres. Cyril Ramaphosa will lead the South African delegation to this summit.
He is accompanied by dr. Naledi Pandor, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Ayanda Dlodlo, Minister of State Security, and Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, Minister of Communications.
The summit is hosted by the Russian government in collaboration with the African Union (AU).
This is preceded by a Russia-Africa Business Summit on Wednesday. Several Russian companies and companies from Africa will be represented here.
Ilja Rogachev, the new Russian ambassador to South Africa, said at a gathering at the University of Pretoria last week after the collapse of the former Soviet Union nearly 30 years ago, Russia’s involvement in Africa has waned.
With the Russia-Africa Summit, Russia hopes it will help him become more involved in the development of the continent.
Rogate chief says there is a misconception that Russia is returning to Africa only as part of the battle between global powers for influence and minerals on the continent.
“It is no coincidence that the summit is jointly hosted by the Russian Federation and the AU.
There is great significance in this; unlike other great powers, Russia does not look down on Africa.
“We do not consider African and African nations as junior partners. In fact, Russia strives to work together on an equal basis and in the interests of all parties involved, ”he says.
Because the Soviet Union was at that time the only major power not involved in colonialism, he did not look at Africa through colonial glasses.
“We have always believed that Africa itself must solve Africa’s problems, including within the United Nations (UN).”
He can do this with the help of expertise and advice from the international community.
The presidency says in a statement Russia is a strategic partner. There are already more than 38 bilateral agreements between the two countries.
Ramaphosa and Russia’s Pres. Earlier this year, Vladimir Putin had bilateral talks with the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan. The Russian head of state attended the Brics summit in Johannesburg last year.
South Africa is currently a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. Russia is a permanent member.