Russia’s Admiral Gorshkov frigate, armed with Zircon hypersonic missiles, has docked in Cape Town, South Africa, ahead of joint military drills with South Africa, Russia and China, Cape Town’s Russian Consulate said on Monday.
“The battleship arrived in the Mother City on its way to Durban where it will take part in joint [South Africa]-[China]-[Russia] naval drills scheduled for February 17-27,” the consulate said on Twitter.
Why it matters: The exercises come as Russia nears the first anniversary of its invasion of Ukraine, and it is also an opportunity for Moscow to show it is not entirely isolated on the world stage, despite widespread international condemnation of the invasion.
In January, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his South African counterpart Naledi Pandor defended the naval drills after they held talks in Pretoria during Lavrov’s first visit to South Africa since the invasion of Ukraine.
Earlier this month, Russian state-owned news agency TASS quoted a source close to Russia’s defense industry, saying the frigate “will perform a training launch of a Tsirkon (Zircon) hypersonic missile during a joint exercise with South African and Chinese navies.”
CNN’s Radina Gigova contributed reporting to this post.