Battleground Africa

US Congress targets Russia’s African allies

By Julian Pecquet

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Posted on April 6, 2022 12:07

Russia Africa Forum
Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Namibia’s counterpart Hage Geingob attend a meeting at the 2019 Russia-Africa Summit and Economic Forum in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Ramil Sitdikov / Sputnik)

The US Congress is tackling Russian influence in Africa as the continent emerges as a key battleground in the western campaign to punish President Vladimir Putin for his invasion of Ukraine.

With the six-week-old conflict dominating foreign policymaking in Washington, the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Tuesday 5 April voted on 11 separate bills targeting Russia following a congressional delegation to the Ukrainian border in Poland last month. In addition to legislation to ban Russian participation in the G7 and investigate alleged Russian war crimes, the committee also advanced a bill requring the State Department to develop a strategy to counter the “malign influence and activities” of Russia and its proxies in Africa.

“For several years now, the Russian Federation has used various means, including unaccountable private military contractors, embedded political operatives, and disinformation troll farms, to conduct malign activities throughout the continent of Africa,” said committee Chairman Gregory Meeks, who sponsored the Countering Malign Russian Activities in Africa Act.

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