Russia pledges military support to Mali
BAMAKO, Mali (AP): Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov pledged military support to Mali during his first visit to the West African nation on Tuesday and dismissed criticism of Moscow’s growing influence on the continent.
Russia has delivered “very large supplies of aviation equipment” to Mali over the past few months which has “significantly increased” the capability of local forces to fight extremists, Lavrov told journalists.
“We will now be planning additional steps in the field of education through military higher-educational institutions and in the field of supplies of weapons and military equipment,” Lavrov said, refusing to go into specifics.
Lavrov’s trip to Bamako, Mali’s capital, comes as Western countries express their concerns about alleged human-rights abuses committed by Russian mercenaries working for the private military contractor Wagner Group.