Mali has received military equipment from Russia following the suspension of the European Union’s training program with the Sahel country.
According to a statement from the Malian presidency, Maj Gen Oumar Diarra, the head of Mali’s armed forces, received two combat helicopters and observation radars.
According to a video provided by the presidency, the equipment was delivered by a Russian cargo jet at the airport in Bamako.
Diarra described Russia’s assistance to Mali as “an expression of a very fruitful friendship.”
Mali acquired two Russian-made combat helicopters and radars last month, following allegations that its defence minister and air force chief had visited Moscow “quietly.”
The reception was widely reported in state media, praising Russia’s increased support for Mali in counter-insurgency operations.
Following worldwide criticism of its decision to deploy mercenaries from the dubious Wagner paramilitary group in December, Mali has defended its connections with Russia.
This prompted France’s Operation Barkhane forces and European troops under the Takuba Task Force to continue their withdrawal.
According to reports, Wagner fighters and the Malian Army have been tied to claims of serious human rights violations in coordinated counter-insurgency operations in recent months.
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Faruk Yahaya, says the Nigerian Army will further explore the cordial bilateral relations between the NA and the Russian government to acquire military equipment to enhance its operations across the country.