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Mali: More military equipment from Russia after backlash

By Jaysim Hanspal

Posted on April 19, 2022 11:18

Supporters of the Imam Mahmoud Dicko and other opposition political parties attend a mass protest demanding the resignation of Mali’s President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita in Bamako
Supporters of the Imam Mahmoud Dicko and other opposition political parties attend a mass protest demanding the resignation of Mali’s President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita in Bamako, Mali August 11, 2020. The blue sign reads: “Russia is the hope for Mali, Putin=Solution”. REUTERS/Rey Byhre

Mali receives more military equipment from Russia after backlash.

Mali has continued to defy Western sanctions on Russia, despite facing a backlash from the international community, including from the European Union who suspended their military programme with the country.

The ruling military junta reportedly received a new shipment of Russian equipment for the Malian armed forces, including two military Mil Mi-35P attack helicopters and 59N6-TE mobile radar systems.

The country has previously received eight helicopters as well as several caches of weapons and ammunition, in a burgeoning diplomatic relationship with Russia.

In a video on the country’s Twitter account, the government shared a video showing the latest shipment of military equipment to Modibo Keita International Airport in Bamako yesterday. According to reports, last month Russia’s defence minister and air force chief visited the country in another sign of strengthening ties.

In a statement outside the hangar, Mali’s armed forces chief, Maj Gen Oumar Diarra said, “This delivery is a demonstration of our fruitful partnership and strong political will. […] We have started to work with the Russian state to keep our autonomy and defend our country.”

Diarra said it will allow the military to protect the people and guarantee peace and the return of security throughout the country. The supplies are intended to aid the Sahel nation to fight the ongoing jihadist campaign that has also received French support since 2013 when extremists seized further territory in the region.

It is also suspected that the Russian mercenary group Wagner is involved in supporting Malian troops since December, including a recent report by Reuters which suggests Russian troops have been aiding the government in massacring a suspected 300 civilians.

Mali’s government have denied the alleged massacre and the involvement of Russian soldiers, whilst AFP reported Russia has blocked a request at the UN Security Council for “independent investigations” into the massacre according to diplomatic sources.

The union has resulted in the withdrawal of French forces and European troops under the Takuba Task Force. German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock warned the country last week that European forces would not cooperate with Mali’s military while it maintains such links with Russia.

This development is further evidence of Russia’s mission to grow its military interests in Africa, where Russian forces have been supplying training and equipment to governments and rebel movements across the continent.

Mali recently was among the African nations who voted to keep Russia in the UN Human Rights Council, despite growing concern from the international community regarding the ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

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