Moscow Denies Talks of Deploying Russian forces in Mali

Wednesday, 15 September, 2021 - 23:51

After France's warning of a possible agreement between Russian firm Wagner and the ruling military council in Bamako, the Kremlin's spokesperson denies the presence of Russian forces in Mali.

Russia has confirmed on Wednesday that it is not considering or negotiating a possible military presence in Mali.

Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin's spokesman disclosed that "There are no representatives of the Russian armed forces there and no official negotiations are in progress."

The Kremlin's denial comes one day after Paris warned on Tuesday of a possible agreement between the military council in Bamako and the Russian firm Wagner, which France considers "unacceptable."

According to Peskov, Russian authorities are in contact with many countries, including those in the African continent.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian warned on Tuesday that Paris could withdraw its forces from Mali, if the ruling military council was allied with the Wagner forces.

“An intervention by a group of this kind in Mali would be incompatible with the actions of France," stressed Le Drian.

For her part, French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly expressed her concern that such an agreement would be "extremely worrying."

A French source divulged to French media that the ruling military council in Bamako is considering the possibility of concluding a contract with Wagner forces to deploy thousands of Russian paramilitary forces to train the armed forces and provide protection for leaders.

It is noteworthy that more than 40 civilians were killed last August in Mali by suspected "jihadists", according to local officials.

In a report submitted to the Security Council, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres recommended increasing 2,000 soldiers to the peace force in Mali in order to increase protection at the center of the country.

The report called for the deployment of about 2,069 uniformed personnel, including 1,730 soldiers and 339 policemen, as part of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali.