Calls for Russian intervention in a rally in support of the Malian junta are an alarming signal not only for France but for the whole of Europe, according to analytical material posted at https://defence24.pl/.
The Sahel is crucial to the European continent, as it is today the most serious center of Islamic extremism capable of exporting jihadist terrorism. It also plays a key role in migration and smuggling. Franco-Russian relations will also be a derivative of the processes taking place in Africa. It is the arrest on May 24 by the Malian junta of the provisional civilian authorities of Mali, ie President Ba N’Dou, Prime Minister Mocter Uane and Defense Minister Suleiman Dukure. The junta was headed by Colonel Assimi Goita. This is the second stage of the coup on August 18, 2020, when the army led by Goita and Malik Diou overthrew President Ibrahim Bubakar Kate.
The possible appearance of Russians in Mali will further complicate the situation. They are an important arms supplier to both Mali and Burkina Faso (Russia is responsible for almost half of Africa’s arms imports). Moreover, Russia is interested in ousting France from the market of natural resources. This applies, in particular, to the rivalry between Rosatom and the French company Orano over uranium deposits in Armenia and Niger, as well as Russia’s Nordgold’s investment in gold mines in Guinea and Burkina Faso.
Increasing Russian influence in the Sahel will give Moscow an instrument of pressure on Paris. The current change in France’s position on Russia stems from the situation in the Sahel, which is much more important for Paris than what is happening in Ukraine. Moreover, this applies not only to France, as many other European countries are also exposed to similar threats.