Russia has claimed that instability in the Sahel region has been attributed to a “reckless Western adventure in Libya” during a recent briefing to the UN Security Council.
Vassily Nebenzia, the representative of the Permanent Mission of Russia to the United Nations, responded to criticism from Western officials who spoke negatively about strengthening military cooperation between Moscow and Bamako. Nebenzia cited the impact of Mali and the Sahel region on Western military intervention in Libya, saying that destabilization in the area was affected by the 2011 Libyan conflict. He called on his colleagues in the Security Council “to abandon the neocolonial narrative and admit their mistakes.”
The Russian diplomat also defended the choices made by Mali and other countries in the region with regard to their chosen partners. Nebenzia pledged that Russia will continue to pursue normalization in Mali through its efforts in the Security Council. He further promised that Moscow will continue to provide support to Bamako, providing food aid and additional energy to the country.
In contrast, France, the United States, and other European countries have accused Russia of committing humanitarian crimes in Mali through the implementation of the “Wagner” military group. The group has become widespread in several sensitive locations in the country, with Moscow providing military equipment to the transitional authorities. Africom commander Michael Langley has labeled the group’s activities in Libya, Mali, and the Central African Republic as destabilizing, citing brutal tactics and human rights violations.
During the conference of chiefs of defense in Africa held in Rome in March, Langley stated that the US response to the penetration of the Russian “Wagner” group lies in supporting African countries through a comprehensive approach. He continued by saying that they believe long-term goals for these countries can be achieved collectively through all of these operations, investments, and activities.