Russian troops stationed in Timbuktu, Mali, on a site abandoned by French troops.
A Malian military spokesman said Thursday that Russian troops had been sent to the northern African city of Timbuktu to train local forces on a site abandoned by French troops last month.
The Malian government said that “Russian instructors” arrived in the country in December, but that Bamako and Moscow had so far provided little details about the deployment, such as the number of players involved or their exact mission.
The arrival of the Russians provoked strong criticism from some Western countries, led by France, a former colonial power in Mali. Western forces include Wagner’s mercenaries who are accused of committing human rights abuses in other countries.
Bilateral agreement with Russia
The Pamako government has denied the presence of mercenaries, claiming that the Russian military is in Mali under a bilateral agreement.
‘We (the Russians) buy new planes and equipment from them. There is much less training on the spot than traveling there. What’s wrong with that? ‘ Mali’s military spokesman told Reuters.
He did not say how many Russians were sent to Thimphu.
Locals told Reuters they saw Russian men in uniform driving in the city but could not estimate their number.
The Moscow Defense Ministry has not yet commented.
Analysts see the arrival of Russian troops in Mali as an attempt by Moscow to regain influence on the continent long after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, following the deployment of troops in several ‘hot’ parts of Africa. .
France helped rescue Timbuktu in 2013 from Al Qaeda-linked militants. The withdrawal of France from the city is part of a significant reduction in the previous 5,000-strong military force in the Sahel region to fight jihadist groups. The audience.
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