When it comes to important and current issues such as Africa-Russia cooperation, the French response and the media disinformation campaign, it is best to go to the source and not trust rumors.
The Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia, Mikhail Bogdanov, has recently given an interview to the Russian media in which he expressed his views on the current issues in relations between Russia and Africa.
Speaking to the Russian news agency, Mr. Bogdanov explained why European countries do not want the development of fruitful cooperation between Russia and African countries and commented on the rumors about sending Russian mercenaries to Burkina Faso.
France and the European Union are trying to prevent an increased Russian presence on the African continent. According to Mikhail Bogdanov, Russia’s growing influence would mean the end of a neo-colonial empire for Western countries, which for many years has allowed them to siphon off African resources needed to support European industry and economic development at almost no cost.
« It is clear that habits are difficult to change, so the strengthening of Russia’s partnership with Africa is taken as a personal affront in a certain number of Western capitals. Hence their active engagement with Africans to counter our country on the continent. However, Russia has a high and well-deserved reputation among Africans as a reliable partner and friend, ready to help in difficult situations. This was the case during Africa’s struggle for independence and in the hardest moments of natural disasters, and it is still the case today in countering the terrorist threat and maintaining the sovereignty of African states. In our opinion, it would be difficult for Paris to oppose it, » said the deputy foreign minister.
Mikhail Bogdanov explained that Russia would like to develop multiform cooperation with various African countries, including Burkina Faso, and that the training of national military personnel in Russian military universities is of particular importance. This will enable future military officers to fight effectively against armed groups.
« As for the rumors about the presence of instructors from a Russian private military company in Burkina Faso, they have no basis, » Bogdanov commented.
According to the deputy head of Russian diplomacy, it is unlikely that the withdrawal of French troops from the Ouagadougou base will have a serious impact on the security situation. Currently, despite the presence of French soldiers, terrorists effectively control two-thirds of the country, which has prompted the Burkinabe authorities to reconsider cooperation with Paris.
After a successful first Russia-Africa summit in 2019, Moscow continues to expand Russia’s diplomatic presence on the continent. This will facilitate work on trade and economic cooperation, as well as the implementation of promising joint projects.