MOSCOW, October 21. /TASS/. Russia’s defense cooperation with African nations is developing rapidly, with new agreements often being initiated by countries who need to protect their sovereignty and independence, Russian President Vladimir Putin told TASS in an interview in the run-up to the Russia-Africa summit.
"It is encouraging that military technical partnership continues to evolve vigorously," he said. "What’s more, African countries often initiate such cooperation themselves, because they understand that one should be able to protect its independence and sovereignty, including from extremist and terrorist groups."
"It is yet another incentive to cooperate with Russia, which has abundant experience in fighting terrorism, including in Syria," Putin continued.
The Russian leader reiterated that the traditions of Moscow’s defense cooperation with African nations were "deeply rooted."
"It was developed back at a nascent stage of establishment of African states and played its role in the fight of peoples of the continent for their independence," he said. "And our African partners highly appreciate it."
"Today, we have agreements on military technical cooperation with more than thirty African countries which we supply with a wide range of military equipment," Putin added. "Of course, part of it is being transferred at no charge. But this is common practice followed by all leading world countries."
In his words, "African partners actively participate in military-technical forums and military exercises organized by Russia, in the framework of which they get acquainted with Russian advanced weapons, military hardware and experience of its use."
"For our part, we will further contribute to training military personnel of African states and take part in training African peacekeepers," the Russian president added.
The Russia-Africa Summit will be held in the Russian Black Sea resort city of Sochi on October 23-24. It will be co-chaired by Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. The leaders of all 54 African countries have been invited to attend. Over 40 of them have already confirmed their participation. On the summit’s sidelines, an economic forum will take place, which will be attended by the heads of state alongside representatives of governments, business and African integration associations.