The director general of the Union of International Security Officers, Alexander Ivanov, has estimated that 1,000 to several thousand Russian servicemen should be sent to Mali to help with counterterrorism efforts.
“Based on my assessment of the scenario and the strength of their armed forces, I estimate that 1,000 to tens of thousands of instructors will be needed. I’m afraid I can’t provide you with exact figures, ”Ivanov explained, Sputnik reported.
Mali’s growing alliance with Russia affects relations with the EU
Following France’s decision to considerably reduce its military force engaged in the war against terrorism, the Malian authorities in September requested the help of a private Russian company. Russia sent two Mi-171Sh and two M-175V gunships to Mali on September 30. Malian Defense Minister Colonel Sadio Camara praised the country’s growing relations with Russia after receiving four Russian military helicopters.
On the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly last week, European governments advised the Malian government against employing paramilitaries from the infamous Wagner Group, a Russian private security agency. Much to France’s dismay, the growing presence of paramilitary groups and Russian consultants in the Central African Republic (CAR) has been noted. Wagner’s forces would also be deployed in Libya, Sudan and Mozambique. Since 2012, when instability began in the north of the country, Mali has been fighting an insurgency linked to terrorist groups of Al Qaeda and Daesh.
Attack on UN peacekeepers
In recent weeks, several attacks in northern Mali have targeted the UN mission. On October 2, an improvised explosive device (IED) exploded in northeastern Mali, killing a UN peacekeeper and injuring four others.
Since 2012, Mali has been plunged into a catastrophic multifaceted crisis on the security, political and economic fronts. Separatist insurgencies, jihadist invasions and inter-communal violence have killed thousands of people and displaced thousands more, despite the deployment of UN, African and European soldiers.
The Malian conflict
The “multidimensional” Malian crisis began after the fall of the administration of Muammar Gaddafi in Libya, according to the organization Sipri. Since 2012, volatility in western Mali, particularly in the Sahel region, has increased. This plunged the country into a multidimensional disaster, including dire economic situation and humanitarian catastrophe. Thousands of people have been killed and displaced as a result of local incursions and inter-communal violence fueled by jihadists.