On 6 March, Mali’s defence minister Colonel Sadio Camara and General Alou Boï Diarra, the Air Force’s chief of staff, discreetly flew to Moscow. Camara and Diarra left the capital on a Turkish Airlines flight via Istanbul. They were both still in Russia on 8 March.
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Few details have been released regarding the objectives of this visit, nor on the Russian figures, they plan to meet with. However, the two officers are the architects of an agreement made between Mali’s transitional authorities and the Russian nebula Wagner of the oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin, who has been deploying his mercenaries in Mali since late December. About 1,000 Wagner fighters are now active in the country, mainly in the central part, where they conduct joint operations with the Forces Armées Maliennes (Fama).
Camara and Diarra made several trips to Russia in 2021. But this most recent visit comes almost two weeks after Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February, which has resulted in Vladimir Putin and his regime being sanctioned by a large part of the international community.
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