Moscow is once again demonstrating its growing influence with the ruling junta in Bamako. Mali received new military equipment delivered by its Russian partner on Tuesday. The country also announced that it had raised nearly €420 million in the sub-regional market.
Malian Defense Minister Sadio Camara, one of the regime’s strongmen, praised the “win-win partnership with the Russian Federation” in his speech at an official ceremony attended by Russian diplomats and interim president Colonel Assimi Goïta. The colonels, who violently seized power in this country in August 2020 amid security turmoil, have decided to part ways with their old French ally, which has been engaged militarily against the jihadists since 2013, and to vigorously resume cooperation with Russia.
The question of Wagner’s role
“I have to say that today’s ceremony is historic, both in the nature, the quality and the scope of what you are handing us, of which we will only present a part here, the rest of course in operation at this time is this one Ceremony,” said Sadio Camara. “We are consolidating our reconnaissance and attack capabilities with the L39 and Sukhoi 25 fighter jets, which will be added to the Super Tucano and other aircraft already in service. As well as the Mi24P attack helicopters, which will be added to the Mi35 and Mi24 already delivered,” he added. No information was released on the conditions for acquiring the equipment.
Russia had already delivered several combat helicopters and weapons in March. Mali has also welcomed in large numbers what the junta presents as Russian trainers. Western partners, for their part, denounce the use of the junta in the service of the private Russian security company Wagner, which frowned upon actions. Bamako, on the other hand, denies this and speaks of a long-term partnership with the Russian army. In May, however, Russia admitted Wagner’s presence in Mali “on a commercial basis”.