Former empire charges Russia with acting in a "neocolonial" manner

Moscow: According to the French Foreign Ministry, Russia is putting the populations of several African nations' sovereignties in danger. After Moscow made a comment regarding recent decisions by Mali and Burkina Faso to remove French troops from their countries, the accusation was made.

In a statement to the media on Thursday, Quai d'Orsay spokeswoman Anne-Claire Legendre accused Russia of engaging in "neocolonial political involvement" in Africa and claimed that Russian "mercenaries" operating there threatened the "security of the African population."

The previous day, Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for the Russian foreign ministry, claimed that Paris continued to approach African nations "from the point of view of its colonial past."

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"French colonialism on the continent of Africa is over. At a press conference in Moscow, Zakharova said, "The time when African countries had to consult someone, especially France, before making a sovereign decision has passed.

What they say in Paris doesn't concern us. We are interested in what the African Union and each nation individually have to say, Zakharova continued.

Last month, Burkina Faso insisted that all French troops leave the country within 30 days, and Paris reluctantly acceded to their request. Demonstrators criticised the former colonial power and waved Russian flags in Ouagadougou.

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Because of the nine-year conflict with the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) and Al-Qaeda affiliates' lack of progress, the neighbouring Mali, which was once a French colonial possession, expelled the French military mission six months earlier. Paris has attributed Bamako's change of heart to Moscow.

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The first to evict Paris and request assistance from the private Russian military firm Wagner Group to resolve its sectarian conflict was another former French colony, the Central African Republic. The government in Bangui claims that Russia "saved" the CAR, despite the fact that Western powers have denounced Wagner as a threat to "human rights" in the country.

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