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US demands African countries avoid buying Russian weapons, says Foreign Ministry

Russia expands military ties with Africa relying on its national interests, according to the Russian diplomatic agency
Russian Foreign Ministry Valeriy Sharifulin/TASS
Russian Foreign Ministry
© Valeriy Sharifulin/TASS

MOSCOW, August 29. /TASS/. Washington frequently threatens African countries with sanctions demanding they should avoid purchasing Russian military hardware, the Russian Foreign Ministry told TASS on Thursday.

"We have seen attempts by a number of Western countries, in the first place, the United States, to enhance their presence in Africa. In particular, they have been exerting major and persistent efforts with the aim to persuade some African countries, which are our long-standing allies, to give up purchases of Russian products, in the first place, military hardware," the Foreign Ministry said.

Quite often the United States goes much further than persuasion to threaten African countries with sanctions. "Our African partners firmly resist this crude blackmail. They state quite fairly that the supplies of Russian military equipment are a prerequisite for maintaining their national security and sovereignty, so they have no intention to give up cooperation with us in this field," the Foreign Ministry said.

Russia's motivation behind expanding military ties with Africa

The expansion of Russia’s military and military-technical cooperation with African countries stems, first and foremost, from its national interests on the continent, the Russian Foreign Ministry told TASS on Thursday.

"Expanding military and military-technical cooperation with African countries, Russia is guided primarily by its national interests in the region and the principles of mutually beneficial cooperation. The fact that our African friends themselves show a growing interest in stepping up military cooperation with our country contributes to its [the partnership's] steady development," the ministry stressed.

According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, Russia has no hidden agenda in Africa. Moscow has traditionally opposed interference in the affairs of sovereign nations, "especially those with a difficult domestic situation." "[Russia] actively promotes the achievement of a political settlement in conflict zones, relying on the will and desire of the African countries themselves. We have consistently supported the African Union’s slogan ‘African solutions to African problems'," the ministry noted.

It emphasized that the issue of Russia’s involvement in peacekeeping activities in Africa was of particular importance, as most peacekeeping operations have been taking place on that continent. "At present, Russian military observers and police take part in peacekeeping missions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Western Sahara and South Sudan," the Foreign Ministry recalled. "We believe it would be useful to expand the representation of our specialists in the UN peacekeeping operations."