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South Africa refuses to seize sanctioned Russian super yacht

South Africa says it will allow a sanctioned Russian oligarch to dock his superyacht in Cape Town.

The $521 million vessel, which belongs to Alexei Mordashov an ally of Russian leader Vladimir Putin – left Hong Kong earlier this week.

South African opposition leaders had urged the government to seize the 465-foot-long yacht called The Nord.

But a spokesman for President Cyril Ramaphosa said he saw “no reason” to comply with Western sanctions.

Vincent Magwenya told reporters in Pretoria, “South Africa has no legal obligation to abide by sanctions imposed by the US and EU.”

“South Africa’s obligations with respect to sanctions relate only to those that are specifically adopted by the United Nations,” Mr Magwenya added, noting that Mr Mordashov is not under any UN-sponsored sanctions.

According to a recent BBC report, Western countries and their allies have imposed sanctions on more than 1,000 Russian individuals and businesses in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

It adds that like many other African countries, President Ramaphosa’s government has so far avoided directly criticising Russia, abstaining in several UN votes that have expressly condemned the war.

Writing by Omotola Oguneye; Editing by Tony Okerafor