It was at all times a stretch. Emmanuel Macron saved the strains of communication open with Vladimir Putin whereas the Russian propaganda machine and Wagner mercenaries fueled anti-French sentiment in Africa. However in an interview on the sidelines of the Francophone Summit in Tunis, the glove seems to be off now.
Macron’s remarks got here earlier than the primary anniversary of the institution of the army junta in Mali, calling on Wagner to interchange French forces combating jihadist rebels. A brand new report exhibits that assaults have elevated since then, together with allegations of human rights abuses by the mercenaries.
Nevertheless, many Malians facet with the army council and its unsupported declare that the French are one way or the other collaborating with the Islamists — a declare that the Russians stoked on their very own networks and social media. What’s Paris doing? What’s Europe doing?
There’s a transfer by European lawmakers to comply with within the footsteps of Estonia and the Wagner model and its chief Yevgeny Prigozhin is a terrorist group. What may that change for a Kremlin insider whose stature appears to have grown for the reason that invasion of Ukraine? Extra broadly, what has modified for the likes of Mali within the 9 months since Putin launched his so-called army operation?