At each other’s throats

In the CAR, France and Russia engage in a mini Cold War

A member of Faustin-Archange Touadéra's Russian security service, in December 2020 © ALEXIS HUGUET / AFP

The Central African Republican has become another playground for the war of influence between Paris and Moscow. The latest episode to date: the alleged infiltration of a French defence subcontractor by Russian intelligence.

The information did not travel beyond the very closed circles of the French Ministry of Defence and NATO. At the end of November, Global Technologies – one of France’s leading companies in the installation of telecom networks in high-risk zones – had its authorisation withdrawn by the French authorities.

This company – managed by Jean-Paul Steinitz and a subcontractor of the French group Thalès – supplied encrypted communication networks to French and NATO troops in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Sahel. However, its contract – which was under renegotiation with Thalès in October – was not renewed.

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