MOSCOW (AP) – The Russian foreign ministry on Friday strongly denied UN experts’ claims that Russian military trainers were involved in the killing and looting of civilians in the Central African Republic.
In a written reply to the AP’s request for comment, the ministry dismissed the allegations as baseless and argued that they were intended to “discredit Russian efforts to stabilize the situation in the CAR and restore peace”.
A panel of UN experts monitoring sanctions on the conflict-torn African nation said in a 40-page report obtained on Monday by The Associated Press that it has asked a large number of local officials, government military and internal security forces and community levels Evidence collected. Sources at multiple locations in the country. It said they pointed to “excessive use of force, indiscriminate killings, the capture of schools and widespread looting” by Russian military instructors.
The panel noted that several officials and other sources reported that Russian trainers “often led rather than pursued” Central African Republic troops as they mounted a counter-attack against rebels linked to former President François Boziz in various cities and villages. I went ahead. Bozize tried to block elections in December and then attempted to seize power from President Faustin Archang Touadera.
Asked about the report earlier this week, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov apparently dismissed the allegations as “another lie.”
“Russian military advisers could not participate and did not take part in any murders or robberies,” Peskov said in a conference call with reporters.
In its written remarks sent to the AP on Friday, the Russian Foreign Ministry confirmed that Russian military trainers were in the country at the request of the country’s legitimate government and in accordance with UN regulations.
It said the job of the trainers is to train the armed forces of the CAR and “provide counseling and humanitarian assistance to the country’s security forces.” It said their mission has helped CAR’s forces defeat terrorists, reduce CAR military losses and “take more effective measures to protect civilians”.
The ministry noted that “if the allegations about the ‘misbehaviour’ of the trainers had any real basis and local residents actively protested, the legitimate authorities of the CAR would hardly have insisted on the further presence of Russian experts.”
The mineral-rich Central African Republic has faced deadly inter-religious and inter-sectarian fighting since 2013. A peace deal was signed between the government and 14 rebel groups in February 2019, but Boziz and his allies were accused of violence, threatening to terminate the agreement. .
Hostilities erupted after the Constitutional Court rejected Boziz’s candidacy to run for president in December and has continued since Toudera won a second term later that month with 53% of the vote.
Last week, the US, Britain and France accused Russian personnel in CAR of mistreating civilians and obstructing UN peacekeeping – charges Russia angrily denied.
Western powers linked Russian personnel to the infamous Wagner Group, a private security company allegedly linked to Yevgeny Prigozhin, a businessman who has been indicted in the US of meddling in the 2016 presidential election, and whose companies reportedly won lucrative mining contracts. car.
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