Russia is trying to use its co-operation with Africa to show the world and Russians that it continues to be an influential player on the international stage. For this purpose, it will hold a Russia-Africa summit in St Petersburg on 27-28 July. Also, Moscow is paying attention to African states, and in this way, Putin hopes to show the Russian people before the 2024 elections that Russia is not isolated, but has many international partners. This approach can be called a step of desperation. Russia’s bet on support from “friendly” countries such as the UAE, Turkey, China, and a number of post-Soviet countries has completely failed. These states are gradually coming out in favour of sanctions against Russia. African countries should follow the same path, Dispatches, IFBG.
Russia has become a pariah on the international stage due to its aggression against Ukraine, receiving unprecedented sanctions and a trade blockade. In connection with the arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for Russian President Vladimir Putin, South African authorities are trying to persuade Moscow to greatly simplify the level of Russia’s delegation to the BRICS summit. This is as a result of the world’s response to the unprovoked war unleashed by the Kremlin against Ukraine.
With the Russia-Africa summit, the Kremlin wants to gain a political foothold on the African continent and strengthen its military presence to destabilise the situation in the continent. Russia is fuelling conflicts in African countries, exemplified by CAR, Mali, Burkina Faso. Their ties with Russia and conflicts with countries where presidents are democratically elected by the people carry a risk of destabilisation for the African continent. For example, last summer the pro-Russian leadership in Mali detained 49 peacekeepers from Côte d’Ivoire and accused them of being mercenaries, which created great tension in the relations between the two countries. Côte d’Ivoire has experienced firsthand the spread of Russian influence.
The policy of redrawing borders by force, which Russia is pursuing in Ukraine and trying to legitimise in the UN, may also hurt Africa. In the Sahel (Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad, Sudan), Russia plans to continue to increase its influence, which could lead to the spread of military conflicts in other regions of Africa.
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