Mali has approached “Russian private companies,” according to Lavrov, but Moscow is not involved.
Mali has asked private Russian enterprises to help with security in the conflict-torn country, according to Russia’s foreign ministry, who added that Moscow was not involved.
On the fringes of the UN General Assembly this week, European governments urged the Malian government against enlisting paramilitaries from the infamous Wagner group.
With France’s military involvement in Mali expected to shrink, Sergey Lavrov told reporters that the Malian government is turning to “private Russian enterprises.”
During a press conference at the United Nations headquarters in New York, he remarked, “This is activity that has been carried out on a legitimate basis.”
He went on to say, “We have nothing to do with that.”
Mali’s army-dominated administration in Bamako is reportedly close to hiring 1,000 Wagner paramilitaries, according to sources.
Mali has been warned by France that recruiting fighters from a Russian private security agency will isolate it globally.
The Russian firm is linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Western nations accuse it of operating on Moscow’s behalf.
In recent years, Russian paramilitaries, private-security instructors, and firms have increased in influence in Africa, particularly in the conflict-torn Central African Republic, where the UN has accused Wagner contractors of human rights violations.
Moscow acknowledges sending “instructors” to CAR, but claims they are not involved in the battle. Despite Western accusations to the contrary, Russia maintains that there are no paramilitaries in Libya.