The Russian frigate Admiral Gorshkov docked this Wednesday in the port of Richards Bay, in the Republic of South Africa, to participate in military exercises with ships of the South African Navy and the Chinese Navy. This is stated in the statement released by the press service of the Russian Northern Fleet, to which this frigate is attached and whose equipment includes the latest Tsirkon hypersonic missiles. These are “trilateral exercises” on the occasion of the Day of the Armed Forces of the Republic of South Africa, the country that currently holds the rotating presidency of the BRICS, an organization that also includes Brazil, China, India and Russia. According to the Russian Northern Fleet, the objective of the exercises is to “counter threats to maritime security, demonstrating the willingness of the forces of the fleets concerned to jointly maintain regional peace and stability.” The naval forces of Russia, South Africa and China already organized the first maneuvers of this type in the waters of Cape Town in 2019. In recent days, before joining the operation, the frigate Admiral Gorshkov called at the South African ports of Cape Town. Cabo, where he resupplied with drinking water and food, and from Durban. The Russian vessel set sail in January from the Russian port of Severomorsk on a “long-distance” voyage classified as “combat” and has crossed the Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea and the Indian Ocean. According to her captain, Igor Krojmal, the frigate is equipped not only with Tsirkon missiles, but also with Kalibr cruise rockets, commonly used by the Black Sea Fleet in its bombardments against Ukraine. Shots with Tsirkon missiles were planned during the current maneuvers, but, apparently, at the express request of China and South Africa, Russia has ended up giving it up. An official of the Russian Navy, Captain Oleg Gladki, in statements to the press this Wednesday, limited himself to reporting that these new generation missiles will not be used, but he did not go into details as to why. “The hypersonic weapon will not be used in the framework of these exercises,” Gladki announced. In his words “there is no hidden meaning in this device.” The Russian agency TASS, however, assured earlier this month that, during the maneuvers in South Africa, the Russian frigate would make at least one test launch of the Tsirkon missile system, a weapon that, according to President Vladimir Putin, is “unstoppable”. », since it is ensured that it moves at a speed «five times greater than that of sound» and is capable of reaching targets located a thousand kilometers away. At the beginning of January, Putin witnessed by videoconference the entry into service of the Admiral Gorshkov frigate equipped for the first time with Tsirkon shells. “I am sure that such powerful weapons will allow Russia to be effectively protected from external threats and will help defend national interests,” the Russian president said at the time in the company of Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, who explained that the crew of the The ship “will be trained in the deployment of hypersonic weapons and long-range cruise missiles.” Shoigu also declared that the Tsirkon “have the capacity to overcome any current or future anti-aircraft defense system (…) and can carry out powerful and precise attacks on land and sea.” Days later, at the end of January, the Russian ship carried out a “drill” attack with Tsirkon rockets at an unspecified location in the Atlantic against a target supposedly located 900 kilometers away, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement.