Defence Minister Thandi Modise
Defence Minister Thandi Modise is in Russia for the 10th Moscow Conference on International Security, just days after the release of a document stressing the threats posed by China and Russia to the United States' interest in sub-Saharan Africa.
Modise was invited by her Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu and will be in Moscow for three days.
According to Modise's spokesperson Cornelius Monama, the conference's objectives are to share practical ideas and explore solutions on matters of global security.
Modise is expected to address the conference on Tuesday.
"Minister Thandi Modise is also scheduled to have a bilateral meeting with the Russian Minister of Defence, General Shoigu, on the margins of the conference. South Africa and the Russian Federation enjoy cordial relations. Both countries have signed a number of military-related bilateral agreements which are yielding significant benefits for both countries," Monama.
Modise is also expected to engage with defence ministers and experts from across the globe on security challenges.
"As one of the key players on peace and security on the African continent, it is hoped that this conference will help expose South Africa to practical and innovative strategies to address defence and security challenges that confront Africa.
"South Africa stands ready to work with all peace-loving nations of the world, through relevant multilateral bodies, to contribute meaningfully towards lasting peace in the world," Monama said.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken's visit to South Africa last week coincided with the release of a 17-page strategy document stressing the threats posed by China and Russia to US interests in sub-Saharan Africa.
China saw the region "as an important arena to challenge the rules-based international order, advance its own narrow commercial and geopolitical interests, undermine transparency and openness, and weaken US relations with African peoples and governments," the paper stated.
"Russia views the region as a permissive environment for parastatals and private military companies, often fomenting instability for strategic and financial benefit. Russia uses its security and economic ties, as well as disinformation, to undercut Africans' principled opposition to Russia's further invasion of Ukraine and related human rights abuses," it added.
South Africa has faced international and local criticism for taking a neutral stance on the war in Ukraine after it, along with 16 other African countries, abstained from the United Nations vote condemning Russia's invasion.
During Blinken's visit, International Relations Minister Naledi Pandor reiterated South Africa's call for peace talks between Russia and Ukraine.
Pandor said her engagements with Blinken on the war were respectful, but she raised concerns about legislation passed by the lower house of the US Congress, which could see countries that support Russia face punishment.