The crucial military cooperation agreement with Russia… What does it contain?

The crucial military cooperation agreement with Russia… What does it contain?
The crucial military cooperation agreement with Russia… What does it contain?

Since the military came to power in August 2020, Mali has intensified its cooperation with Russia.

The National Transitional Council (NTC) unanimously approved, on Thursday, July 4, a bill from the government of Chogel Kokala Maïga, ratifying a military and technical cooperation agreement between Mali and the Russian Federation.

This agreement, validated by the government in the Council of Ministers in April 2024, represents a major step in strengthening bilateral relations. It aims to intensify efforts to combat terrorism and improve the effectiveness of the Malian armed forces.

Under the terms of the agreement, Russian instructors will train Malian soldiers and police officers. In addition, military equipment will be supplied to strengthen the country’s defense capability.

Since the second coup in 2021, Russia has delivered a large amount of military equipment to Mali, although details of these contracts have not been disclosed.

Following the coups of 2020 and 2021, Mali turned to Russia as its main military partner, accelerating the departure of French Barkhane troops from the country. Western powers have accused Mali of deploying mercenaries from the Wagner Group. However, Bamako has consistently denied these allegations, claiming that the Russians present in Mali are instructors who have come to train the Malian armed forces.

Despite this enhanced cooperation, the security situation has not significantly improved. Attacks continue and casualties, particularly civilians, continue to increase. On Monday, July 1, an attack in the Bandiagara region left around twenty victims. In addition, terrorist groups such as JNIM and EIGS regularly carry out deadly attacks, highlighting the persistence of insecurity.

In addition to military cooperation, the agreement includes economic and humanitarian components. In January 2024, concordant sources confirmed that Russia delivered 25,000 tons of wheat and 17,000 tons of fuel to Mali to support food and energy security. These gestures are part of a broader strategy by Russia to expand its influence in Africa by replacing former colonial powers, such as France.

During the visit of Malian Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop to Moscow on February 28, 2024, the two sides also discussed cooperation in the energy, agriculture and mining sectors.

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