Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov has accused the United States of exerting “unprecedented pressure” on African nations in an attempt to disrupt Russia’s planned second Africa summit.
This event, hosted by President Vladimir Putin, is scheduled to take place in July in St. Petersburg. The summit is part of Russia’s effort to cultivate good relations with African countries following Western disapproval of the country’s military intervention in Ukraine.
Bogdanov spoke out against what he claims is a Western campaign to isolate Russia, stating that the US and its allies are conducting a political and economic campaign against Moscow, including attempts to disrupt the Russian-Africa summit. “The United States and its allies are conducting an unprecedented campaign for the political and economic isolation of Russia, including the disruption of the Russian-Africa second summit in St. Petersburg,” Bogdanov told TASS.
Bogdanov continued asserting that since Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine started, Western pressure on African countries has intensified. He says this is seen in threats to impose sanctions and the termination of financial and humanitarian aid. Bogdanov further accuses the West of fabricating claims that Russia is trying to starve Africa and cause a rise in fuel prices.
In response to Western sanctions, Moscow has sought to cultivate closer ties with many nations, including China, India, and African countries. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has made two trips to the continent this year alone. In addition, the Wagner group (Russian mercenary group) has been deployed in Mali and Central Africa in an effort to stop insurgents in the region.
President Joe Biden also hosted a U.S.-Africa leaders summit in 2022 in Washington, seeking to build stronger alliances in the face of growing Russian and Chinese influence on the continent. The US has not responded to Bogdanov’s allegations.