Africa and Russia: Foreign Relations

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office written question – answered at on 14 April 2022.

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Photo of Lord Spencer of Alresford Lord Spencer of Alresford Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to weaken Russian influence in Africa; in particular, Russian support for military governments in (1) Mali, and (2) Sudan.

Photo of Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

The UK has regularly voiced concern at Russia's malign influence across Africa, which includes Russian support to a number of different elements of the Sudanese Armed Forces. Senior FCDO officials have raised such concerns directly with Sudan's military leadership in Khartoum. Troika Heads of Mission (the USA, the UK and Norway) in Khartoum also published an op-ed on 21 March highlighting how Russian malign influence and Wagner Group activities in Sudan spread disinformation, and undermine good governance and the rule of law. The Wagner Group is a Russian paramilitary organisation. It is variously described as a private military company, a network of mercenaries, or a de facto private army of President Putin.

The UK is deeply concerned about the activities of the Wagner Group in Mali. We are horrified by reports which suggest that hundreds of people were killed in Moura, following a CT operation carried out by the Malian Armed Forces in March with the alleged involvement of Wagner Group. Minister Ford issued a statement on 5 April calling for an urgent, transparent and impartial investigation to bring those responsible to justice. She urged the Malian authorities to end all ties with the mercenary group. The UK is committed to building long-term stability in Mali. We are using UK programming to improve stabilisation efforts, enhance civil-military coordination and strengthen local conflict resolution mechanisms.

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