MOSCOW, November 11. /TASS/. Moscow will do whatever is necessary to prevent threats to Mali's statehood and territorial integrity, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at a press conference following talks with Mali's top diplomat Abdoulaye Diop on Thursday.
"We realize the need to support Mali's ability to combat terrorism," Lavrov pointed out. "At the government level, we provide the country with the necessary equipment, weapons and ammunition. We will do whatever is necessary to prevent threats to Mali's statehood and territorial integrity," the Russian foreign minister added.
He noted that "a vacuum of power would be unacceptable," while it could emerge in the country's north following France's decision to withdraw troops from Mali and shut down three military bases in the areas "where terrorist groups are the most active."
Two military coups have taken place in Mali since August 2020. The first one, which occurred on August 18, 2020, ousted President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. Interim President Bah Ndaw was removed from power by the military on May 26, 2021, while Deputy President Assimi Goita became Mali's Transition President based on the Constitutional Court's order. At that point, the country's leadership confirmed plans announced by the authorities in September 2020, saying that presidential and parliamentary elections would be held in February 2022.