Russia to send more military instructors to Burkina Faso: Lavrov

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attends a meeting with Burkina Faso’s Foreign Minister Karamoko Jean Marie Traore in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso June 4, 2024. Russian Foreign Ministry/Handout via REUTERS

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced during his visit to Burkina Faso on Wednesday that the number of Russian military instructors in the country “will increase.” Lavrov, speaking at a news conference in the capital Ouagadougou, highlighted Moscow’s efforts to enhance its influence in Africa amid deteriorating relations with the West following Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine.

“We have had relations with Burkina Faso for a long time and the arrival in power of president Traore has given these relations new impetus,” Lavrov said.

Burkina Faso, grappling with jihadist insurgency since 2015, has turned to Russia for military assistance after expelling French troops and diplomats following a coup in September 2022.

Lavrov expressed confidence that cooperation between Russia and Burkina Faso would lead to the eradication of terrorist groups in the country. Russia has also strengthened ties with neighboring Mali and Niger, both facing similar jihadist threats. These countries, including Burkina Faso, have withdrawn from the ECOWAS regional bloc, citing insufficient support in combating terrorism.

Ouagadougou marked Lavrov’s third stop on his regional tour, following visits to Guinea and Congo. He was scheduled to travel to Chad, where General Mahamat Idriss Deby was recently elected president after leading a military junta for three years.

In a summit last July in Saint Petersburg, Russian President Vladimir Putin urged African leaders to promote a multipolar world order and combat neo-colonialism, emphasizing the commitment of all states to a just and democratic global system.

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