Russia’s Lavrov Returns to Africa

( – Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was in Guinea on Monday, marking his latest visit to West Africa, a region where a string of coups as well as a growing discontent with Western allies like the US and France have prompted some nations in the region to turn their attention toward Moscow.

The foreign minister has visited Africa multiple times in recent years as Russia seeks the support of many of the continent’s countries since Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine has increased tensions with the West.

According to the Foreign Ministry, Lavrov met with his counterpart in Guinea, Foreign Minister Morissandra Kouyaté where the two discussed mutual areas of cooperation.

From Guinea, Lavrov traveled to the city of Oyo in the Republic of Congo where he met with President Denis Sassou N’Guesso.

A military junta has controlled Guinea since 2021 after Col. Mamadi Doumbouya seized power. Earlier this year, military leaders disbanded the government promising to appoint a new one.

Col. Doumbouya has rejected attempts by Western leaders to offer assistance with the political challenges in the region, arguing that Africans were “exhausted” by the West’s attempts to put them in a box.

In recent years, multiple West African nations, including Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger installed military juntas following coups. Since then, the countries have cut or limited long-standing military cooperation with the West in favor of expanded cooperation with Russia.

Following the coup in Burkina Faso last year, the military junta ousted French forces in the country and strengthened security ties with Russia. Likewise, Russian military personnel arrived in Niger just weeks after the military junta ordered the US troops stationed in the country to withdraw.

In a visit to Mali early last year, Foreign Minister Lavrov pledged Russia’s military support.

Late last year, Lavrov visited North Africa, where Russia is seeking to exploit the diminishing popularity of the West by strengthening the region’s ties with Moscow.

Lavrov also visited the East African nation of Kenya as part of Moscow’s outreach to the continent.

President Biden designated Kenya as a non-NATO ally of the US on May 24.

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