Apparently, Russia has arms: amid Ukraine war, it supplies to Africa

BAMAKO, MALI — Apparently, Moscow has no intention of severing military-political ties established years ago, but against the background of its war with Ukraine. Last Friday showed similar intentions.

Russia deploys Su-25s in new strategic attack aviation in West front
Photo credit: YouTube

On January 19, Mali received a new arms shipment from Russia. Training aircraft used as light attack aircraft, helicopters, and fighter aircraft. Although the weapon is Soviet-era and quite outdated, it raises questions about the stockpiles of the Russian Federation.

Mali received two Mil Mi-17s, four Czech-designed L-39C Albatross trainers, and one Sukhoi Su-25 Frogfoot aircraft. With this next delivery, Moscow strengthens the military potential of the African country.

Abandoned Mali

Russia gradually began to establish its military presence in Mali in 2021. The private military company then established a permanent presence in Mali after permission from the government in Bamako.

“We were abandoned by France” were the words of Mali Prime Minister Mr. Shogel Kokalla Maiga at the time. He announced that since the end of Operation Barhan, Mali had been forgotten “mid-flight” by France. This enabled the government in Bamako to authorize the presence of other foreign troops, targeting Russia and the private military company.

Paris countered the Bamako decision. The French President, Mr. Emmanuel Macron, stated that the presence of the Russian company Wagner would destabilize the region. He made the announcement at a time when France decided to significantly reduce its military presence in the African nation. This very fact was used a few days later by the Russian Foreign Minister, Mr. Sergey Lavrov, as a reason for Russia to “give a hand to Mali”.

A security crisis

The presence of Russian mercenaries in Mali was not well received. Although Mali tried to build strong ties with the Soviet Union in the middle of the last millennium, its disintegration led Bamako to turn to Paris.

Afghan Mi-17 helos in Arizona: arranged and battle-ready to Ukraine
Photo credit: 167th Airlift Wing

France does not see a possible way for Russian mercenaries and units of the French army, rapidly built by the foreign French Legion, to work together in the country.

France tried to remind Mali that the Wagners are not so much known for helping the local population as for their “predatory behavior”, referring to the actions of Russian mercenaries in Syria. “In the Central African Republic, this led to a worsening of the security situation,” recalled Paris.

What else is Russia delivering to Mali?

Friday’s delivery is not the first from Moscow to Bamako. Just a few months ago, again amid the war with Ukraine, Moscow delivered to Mali five L-39C Albatros light attack aircraft, a Mil Mi-35 combat helicopter, and one Su-25 FrogFoot close air support aircraft.

A few months before this delivery, in March 2022, Mali acquired two Mi-24P helicopters along with the only Protivnik-GE/59N6-TE mobile radar. Bamako later acquired four more Mi-35 helicopters from Russia.

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