Russia’s Rising Influence in Africa Worries Spain, Britain

In a joint press conference, British and Spanish Defense Ministers warned NATO not to remain indifferent to Russia’s rising influence and activity in Africa. The two defense ministers said Russia’s presence in the continent poses a threat to the security of NATO countries along with its invasion of Ukraine and must be addressed by the military alliance.

Spanish Defense Minister Robles said the expansion of operations carried out by Russian state and private security companies such as the Wagner Group in countries like Mali and Libya was very clear. She accused Russia of encouraging organized crime and terrorism in the region.

British Defense Minister Wallace, in his visit to Madrid for a bilateral meeting ahead of Spain’s hosting of NATO summit in late June,  said rising instability coupled with hunger in Africa could significantly impact Europe.

Wallace argued that if Russia can use migrant flows as a weapon in Ukraine, it could certainly use it in Africa.

Wallace referred to Western allegations against Russia that it was fueling last year’s EU border crisis when Moscow supported Belarus in encouraging thousands of migrants to cross towards Poland in retaliation to EU sanctions.

Wallace backed Robles’ call for NATO to include defense of its southern flank in its new strategic concept, its basic military doctrine which will be drafted at the Madrid summit.

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