Saturday, January 19, 2013

Mali: Moscow promises military aid to France

Russia, which has publicly supported the French operation "Serval" should send an Antonov 124 and men of the 224th Air Detachment in Mali.

Breaking with his usual caution, Russia promised military aid to the French intervention in Mali. According to our information, provide assistance to Moscow Paris by sending in the coming days, a plane Mali, intended to carry arms. It would be an Antonov 124, belonging to the company Volga Dnepr, a device that has the habit of serving in Africa under UN mandate. Men of the 224th Air Detachment were also involved on Malian soil.

After the Russian Foreign Ministry has publicly supported the operation "Wolverine" and gave the green light to the French military intervention in the Security Council of the UN, behold Moscow takes a more active role in the African conflict. This attitude is surprising when one considers that for several months, Russia, citing a sacrosanct principle of non-interference, opposes any Western military intervention in Syria.

History meet appearances and prevent emerging controversy, the Russian government is recalled that in the context of force Misma, ie under the aegis of the UN and the African Union. Russian trainers could also be dispatched to the scene, not formally to help France, but the Malian government itself. Semantic precision "extremely important for Moscow," said a diplomatic source, but that hides strategic interests.

Russian companies fear a destabilization of the region

Just as the Western powers, and face itself an Islamist insurgency in the North Caucasus, Moscow is worried about an overflow similar to the Sahel. "Russia supports the operation of liquidation of terrorists in the north, but considers that the peace efforts should be organized by Africans themselves," said in a statement carefully weighed, the Special Representative of Vladimir Putin Africa, Mikhail Margelov.

During the Soviet era, Mali was all francophone countries of the continent, which had formed the most contact with the USSR. Moscow has formed during the nearly 4000 students from Mali, including former President Amadou Toumani Touré, who attended high school paratroopers Ryazan, 200 miles south of Moscow.

The USSR has long operated in Mali gold mine now dormant. Large Russian companies, as Gapzrom (gas), Severstal (steel) or Rosatom (nuclear) all have significant economic interests in the neighboring countries of Mali. "These have everything to lose from a destabilization of the region," says Le Figaro former ambassador to Mali, Evgueni Korendiassov.

The prospect of a Russian military assistance to Mali nevertheless drew criticism from the popular weekly Argoumenty i Fakty. It is surprising that "the Russian military budget finance an invasion of France in Africa."

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