PRETORIA, April 1. /TASS/. The Russian Navy’s guard ship Yaroslav Mudry and sea tanker Yelnya have called at the port of Cape Town in South Africa, a spokesperson for the Russian Consulate General in that country told TASS on Tuesday.
"The ships have arrived from the Indian Ocean and are now replenishing supplies in South Africa for accomplishing upcoming missions in their long-distance deployment. The ships have arrived in the republic after their anti-piracy watch," the spokesperson said.
A coronavirus quarantine is in effect in Cape Town and on the entire territory of the Republic of South Africa. That is why, the ceremony to welcome the Russian ships by representatives of the South African Army, the Mayor’s Office and the public on March 31 has been cancelled.
"Unfortunately, Cape Town has been unable to worthily welcome the Russian ships and their crews due to the restrictions imposed in the Republic of South Africa over the coronavirus spread," Consul of the Russian Consulate General in Cape Town Yevgeny Kosenkov told TASS.
The Yaroslav Mudry and the Yelnya will stay in the port of Cape Town for several days.
As South Africa’s Defense Web portal reported, the two Russian Navy ships are following the pipe-laying vessel Akademik Cherskiy, which after its stop in Mozambique sailed around the Cape of Good Hope and entered the Atlantic Ocean. At the time when the Yaroslav Mudry and the Yelnya moored at Cape Town, the Akademik Cherskiy was sailing near the coast of Namibia towards one of the ports of Angola, according to the web portal.
The Baltic Fleet’s naval group comprising the guard ship Yaroslav Mudry and the sea tanker Yelnya embarked on their long-distance deployment from the Baltic Fleet’s main naval base of Baltiysk in the westernmost Kaliningrad Region on October 1 and set off for the Indian Ocean.
In December, the warships took part for the first time in the naval phase of the Indra-2019 Russian-Indian drills and in the Maritime Security Belt Russia-China-Iran naval maneuvers. On January 21-22, 2020, the Baltic Fleet’s naval group held anti-piracy drills with the destroyer Harusame of Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force in the Arabian Sea.
Following the route of Russian barques
The naval ships Yaroslav Mudry and Yelnya arrived in Cape Town two weeks after the two Russian windjammers — the frigate Pallada and the barque Sedov called at the port. The sail ships are making a round-the-world voyage devoted to the 200th anniversary of the discovery of the Antarctica by Russian explorers and the 75th anniversary of the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945.
The festive ceremonies held aboard the Pallada and the Sedov on March 18 to hand over two copies of the Victory Banner were the main event of the stay of the sail ships’ crews in the south of Africa. The copies of the Victory Banner were received by representatives of the Russian diplomatic corps and military diplomats for keeping them on South African soil. The Russian Embassy in the capital of Pretoria and Russia’s Consulate General in Cape Town are operating on the territory of the Republic of South Africa.
The Russian representatives in South Africa also received two Immortal Regiment Banners. The Immortal Regiment march is held on May 9 in many cities of the world to commemorate those who fought or died in World War II. For the entire Russian community in the south of Africa, the Immortal Regiment Banner is a very important symbol of unity as it has become a tradition to hold Immortal Regiment marches in the cities of South Africa on Victory Day. This year, these marches will be held in Johannesburg and Cape Town with the original banners of this popular movement.