Niger; the last French stronghold has fallen

Niger; the last French stronghold has fallen

France is out of Africa: The last French stronghold has fallen – Coup d’état in Niger with Wagner flavor – Advisor Putin: “The country is now ours”!

Russia caught Macron asleep – He threw France out of Africa for good

Wagner Boss Prigozhin Seen Hobnobbing At St. Petersburg Summit Hosted By Putin

Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin has been spotted at the Russia-Africa summit which kicked off Thursday in St. Petersburg, and which is being hosted by President Vladimir Putin.

“Spotted” is an understatement, given he’s apparently posing with African officials and delegates, looking quite comfortable and content, despite it being a mere month after launching a failed mutiny which supposedly got him “exiled” to Belarus (or at least initially). This appears to be taking place on the sidelines of the summit, possibly at an adjacent hotel.

Politico is confirming that “In two pictures circulated on social media Thursday, Prigozhin is shown wearing casual jeans and a white shirt, smiling as he presses the flesh with visiting officials.”

“In the first picture, posted to Facebook by an Africa-based aide, Prigozhin shakes hands with a suited-up African delegate,” Politico notes of the evidence showing his presence at the summit. “According to the watchdog All Eyes on Wagner, the African official is chief of protocol to Faustin Touadera, the president of the Central African Republic.”

The FSB within days after the short-lived uprising announced that it dropped its criminal investigation into Prigozhin because “its participants [Wagner fighters] ceased the activities directly aimed at committing the crime.”

Addressing troops within a week after the events of June 23-34, Putin underscored the seriousness of Wagner’s actions: “You have de-facto stopped the civil war, you acted in a clear and well-coordinated manner in a difficult situation,” Putin had said, also confirming Russian pilot and troop deaths, which some reports put at up to a dozen killed.

The whole hugely consequential episode also resulted in Putin publicly disclose that Wagner had long been supplied and financed from the state budget and Defense Ministry. This large investment perhaps explains why the group became so indispensable to operations in Ukraine. Reportedly corruption probes are ongoing.

But what’s also become more than clear is Prigozhin’s power and indispensability. Weeks after attempting a coup against the country’s defense ministry leadership, he’s hobnobbing with African dignitaries at the very summit hosted by Putin. Likely there are Russian defense ministry officials present at the Petersburg summit as well.

Is Prigozhin already back in Putin’s good graces? Or perhaps he was never really seen by Putin as an “enemy” to begin with in relation to the mutiny… The Prigozhin saga, and the myriad of unanswered questions, continues.

The FT’s Max Seddon writes, “The warlord’s continued presence in Russia indicated Prigozhin remains an important part of the Kremlin establishment, from which President Vladimir Putin has so far proved reluctant or unable to disentangle him.” It should also be noted that Wagner has vast dealings, income, and contracts across Africa.

Russia Seeks To Work With Africa To Weaken Dollar As Putin Hosts Summit

Talk of de-dollarization has long been in the air, particularly in the lead-up to BRICS nations gathering in South Africa in August, with the question high on the agenda.

Russia’s foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova on Wednesday issued a direct, provocative challenge to Washington and its dollar dominance, asserting that Moscow will work with African leaders to weaken the US dollar.

Zakharova, per remarks cited in RIA Novosti, denounced the United States’ using it as a tool for global hegemony, and as “a means of realizing its aggression.” The foreign ministry comments came just ahead of the high-level summit of African leaders set to be held in St. Petersburg at the end of this week.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Russian President Vladimir Putin

African leaders have begun arriving in Russia Wednesday for what is the second Russia-Africa summit since 2019, set to kick off Thursday and go through Friday.

Proposals for ending the Ukraine conflict will be discussed, but also alternatives in the wake of the collapse of the UN-backed Black Sea Initiative grain deal.

While President Putin is also hosting individual meetings with key head of states such as the Ethiopian and Egyptian leaders, there’s a degree of disappointment given the low attendance this year, clearly a result of the Ukraine crisis and the West’s pressure campaign and sanctions against Moscow.

The Associated Press noted that “the number of heads of states attending shrank from 43 then to 17 now because of what the Kremlin described as a crude Western pressure to discourage African nations from attending it.”

In light of this, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has highlighted “unconcealed brazen interference by the U.S., France and other states through their diplomatic missions in African countries, and attempts to put pressure on the leadership of these countries in order to prevent their active participation in the forum.”

“It’s absolutely outrageous, but it will in no way prevent the success of the summit,” Peskov told reporters.

However, many more countries will be represented even if not through their heads of state, with the Kremlin underscoring that 32 other African countries will send senior government officials or their ambassador for the major summit, which Putin will oversee.

Putin pledges grain aid to Africa

Shipments to some of the poorest nations on the continent will be ready within months, the Russian president has said
Putin pledges grain aid to Africa

Russia will be ready to ship free grain to some of Africa’s poorest nations within the next three to four months, President Vladimir Putin has announced. He made the pledge during a speech at the Russia-Africa summit being held in St. Petersburg.

Burkina Faso, Zimbabwe, Mali, Somali, the Central African Republic, and Eritrea will each receive 25,000 to 50,000 tons of grain, the Russian leader said. Moscow will also cover the delivery costs of the shipments, he added.

The announcement comes a week after Moscow refused to renew the Black Sea Grain Initiative, an arrangement which had allowed Ukraine to export grain by commercial ships. The UN- and Türkiye-mediated deal had been touted as a humanitarian effort to protect the world’s poorest nations from surging food prices.

However, Moscow has long insisted that the agreement had failed to achieve its purported aims and had turned into a purely commercial enterprise. Putin reiterated that the UN’s inability to persuade Western nations to lift economic sanctions on Russian food and fertilizer exports, which was part of the deal, had marred the entire reasoning for the operation.

They created obstacles even to our plans to donate fertilizers to the poorest nations that needed them,” the Russian leader said. “Out of 262,000 tons of the fertilizers blocked in European ports, we’ve managed to ship only two lots: merely 20,000 tons to Malawi and 34,000 tons to Kenya. The rest remains in the hands of the Europeans.”

Considering their efforts to undermine Russian exports, Western leaders are hypocritical to accuse Moscow of causing instability on the global food market, Putin claimed. Despite Western-imposed sanctions, Russia is ramping up supplies to Africa, both commercial and humanitarian, he added.

Putin stressed Russia’s role as a major exporter of wheat, a key product for food security. The nation’s share of the market is 20%, compared to less than 5% for Ukraine, he noted.

“This means that Russia makes a significant contribution to global food security and acts as a reliable, responsible international supplier of agricultural products. Those denying this and focusing on the so-called grain deal… are distorting the facts or telling lies,” he stated. “In fact, this has been the practice of some Western nations for decades, if not centuries.”

The president was speaking during a plenary session of the Russia-Africa Economic and Humanitarian Forum, which is being attended by guest delegations from more than 40 nations. The Kremlin said foreign dignitaries have gathered in St. Petersburg in defiance of Western pressure.

The US and its allies are seeking to isolate Russia internationally, claiming it has to be punished due to the Ukraine conflict. Moscow perceives the hostilities, sanctions, and diplomatic maneuvering by the West as part of a US-led proxy war against Russia.

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