Moscow reassures Paris, denies recruitment of Russian instructors in Mali

While there have been reports of the Malian government’s willingness to hire Russian instructors to help train the army and security officials in the West African country, Russia has denied this information. Earlier, France had warned.

Russia denied any discussion with Mali on September 15, 2021, about sending instructors from the Wagner security group. Reuters recently revealed that the Malian government was planning to hire Russian instructors to help train the army and security officials. A revelation that raised a big controversy and strong reactions.

Reacting to the announcement of the Reuters news agency, which, citing corroborating diplomatic sources, reported that the Malian authorities would be in the process of concluding an agreement with the Russian company Wagner, the Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said that there is “no representative of the Russian armed forces there and no official negotiations are underway”, recognizing, however, that his country has contacts in the military sphere with many countries, including African.

According to the media, the agreement was for six (06) billion francs per month and would give the Russian company Wagner access to three mining deposits: two gold and one magnesium.

In return, the Russian instructors would train the Malian Armed Forces and provide protection for certain senior Malian officials.

“Some disturbing things are happening in Mali, and if this rumor that the Malian authorities were to contract with the Wagner company. It would be extremely worrying and contradictory, inconsistent with everything we have undertaken for years. And everything we intend to undertake in support of the countries of the Sahel,” reacted the French Minister of the Armed Forces, Florence Parly, before the National Assembly’s National Defense Commission.

For his part, the head of French diplomacy, Jean-Yves Le Drian, in front of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Assembly of his country, warned on Tuesday that involvement of the Russian private company Wagner in Mali would be incompatible with the maintenance of a French force in this African country. “It is absolutely irreconcilable with our presence, incompatible with the action of Mali’s Sahelian and international partners,” warned Jean-Yves Le Drian.

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