The shadow of Russia’s Wagner Group looms large over post-coup Mali
05 February 2022 | 11:04 am
Colonel Assimi Goïta, who took power in Mali in an August 2020 coup, has been slow to put in place a promised transition to civilian rule. Now under international sanctions, the country has been gripped by nationalist and pan-African fever for several weeks. Relations with former colonial power France, which has deployed thousands of soldiers as part of an anti-jihadist force for nearly a decade, are strained to the point that Mali recently expelled the French ambassador. Meanwhile, the ruling junta in Bamako is welcoming new allies: members of the Russian paramilitary Wagner Group. Their presence has already been reported in certain areas of the country.
Is it better than Putin bargained for? Critics of Geneva talks between Cold War rivals say they reward the Kremlin for its massive troop build-up on the Ukrainian border. Would the United States be sitting down with Russia without the threat of an invasion? Is it better to talk or not to talk?
Exclusive photos show Russian mercenaries, believed to be of the Wagner group, operating in Mali. Also, Ethiopians in Lalibela marked the orthodox Christmas under the shadow of conflict. Just months ago, the historic town was occupied by Tigrayan rebels. And Senegal's national dish has gone global. Thieboudienne, made with rice with fish, has been added to UNESCO's cultural heritage list.
As tensions simmer and troops amass along on both sides of the border, DW's Nick Connolly visited eastern Ukraine. Close to the Russian border, in the town of Milove, he spoke with locals about what it's like to live there.
Mali's Ibrahima Koné may have scored the winning goal against Tunisia, but the man everyone's talking about is the referee, who blew his whistle too early and ended the game in confusion. Also on Day 4, Gambia make a triumphant entry into their first-ever AFCON tournament with a 1-0 victory against Mauritania, and Ivory Coast jump to the top of Group E after beating Equatorial Guinea. Alison Sargent is joined by James Vasina and sports editor Simon Harding from Cameroon to discuss all the action.
Russia is bringing its security demands to talks with NATO. Moscow wants written guarantees that there will be no further eastward expansion of NATO and that Ukraine will never join the Western military alliance. Russia's stance has a long history, as DW's Emily Sherwin reports.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told DW that the military alliance was committed to its "dual track" approach to Russia and would continue both pursuing dialogue and preparing for a confrontation.
Former Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, who led the country until he was ousted in a 2020 coup, has died at the age of 76.
The United States has accused Russia of planning a so-called “false flag” operation in eastern Ukraine, in an attempt to create an excuse for an invasion. The Pentagon says there is evidence Russian agents might already be in the country to carry out acts of sabotage and blame Ukraine for them.
The duopoly of Western aircraft manufacturers Airbus and Boeing is under pressure. Russia's MC-21 airliner is now certified to fly and China is pushing ahead with plans to enter the international market.
How strong is the West's resolve when it comes to Ukraine? A steady diet of diplomacy is so far failing to lift the uncertainty over Vladimir Putin's true intentions when it comes to those 100,000 troops amassed at the border.
A video that shows park rangers in a helicopter in Central African Republic has been used to incorrectly point the finger at the French army for supporting terrorists in Mali. We take a closer look in this edition of Truth or Fake.
Russia still seems to be beefing up the military presence on its border with Ukraine, while Kyiv has received military support from the US and the UK. Germany won't send weapons to Ukraine, saying that would only escalate the situation.
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