Pretoria scrambles to repair relations with Russia after calling for invasion forces to leave Ukraine

South Africa issued a surprisingly strong endorsement of Ukraine’s sovereignty last week. Now it’s scrambling to patch up relations with the Kremlin. Defence Minister Thandi Modise reportedly celebrated Russia’s Defender of the Fatherland Day at a reception at Russian ambassador’s residence in Pretoria on Thursday night, just hours after Russian tanks rolled into Ukraine and Russian missiles rained down on Ukrainian cities.