By Enyichukwu Enemanna
Malian Economy Minister Alousseini Sanou said on Wednesday that the West African country expects Russia to send fuel, fertilizers and food worth around 100 million dollars in Bamako in the weeks to come.
Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed providing such supplies with his Malian counterpart in August, a sign of deepening ties between the two countries as Bamako’s relationship with longtime ally and former colonial ruler France , are strained.
Speaking on state television from Moscow, Sanou said Russia would send 60,000 tons of petroleum products, 30,000 tons of fertilizer and 25,000 tons of wheat.
Mali’s ruling military junta came to power in a 2020 coup and has repeatedly clashed with neighboring countries and Western powers over election delays, alleged military abuses and cooperation with Russian mercenaries in its fight against an Islamist insurgency.
Fighters from the Wagner Group, a private military company linked to the Kremlin, have been supporting the Malian army in its fight since the end of last year.
In October, Putin told Mali’s interim President Assimi Goita that Moscow had pledged to strengthen cooperation to help root out “terrorist groups” in Mali.