Moscow agrees to send military specialists to Republic of Congo to service weapons
Iran Press TV
Sat May 25, 2019 08:48AM
Moscow is deploying its military specialists to Congo to provide service for Russian-made military hardware and equipment in the sub-Saharan African country.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov made the announcement on Friday, a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Congolese counterpart Denis Sassou Nguesso met in Moscow and signed a contract to deploy Russian military specialists to Congo.
"Much of this hardware can be still used if there is proper maintenance and these people, who are sent there, will service the munitions," he added.
Russia's Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin said although the contract was new, it "continues the very beautiful story that was once started called military-technical cooperation."
He further explained that the Russian advisers will help Congo's military with the upkeep of armored vehicles, rocket artillery and helicopters.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the specialists were already on the ground there, according to Russian news agency, Interfax.
Moscow has donated hundreds of weapons and sent more than 200 trainers to Central African Republic (CAR) earlier this year.
Earlier in January, the CAR's Defense Minister Marie-Noelle Koyara said he does not rule out full-fledged Russian military bases on top of an existing training facility.
Moscow had also signed a military deal with the CAR last August to step up training of CAR's armed forces.
Russia has delivered light arms to the CAR's security forces last year and said it had deployed 175 military and civilian instructors to train them.
This happened after Moscow received an exemption from a United Nations arms embargo to deliver arms to CAR in December 2017, to help the government fight against militants there.
Russia's growing military presence in Africa has prompted concern among the Western countries, particularly the US which has already a significant military presence in the continent.
US National Security Adviser John Bolton had previously accused Russia and China of using "corrupt" and "predatory" practices to gain an economic advantage over Washington in Africa.
China has already provided many countries in Asia and Africa with billions of dollars in aid and loans for roads, railways, ports and other major infrastructure projects. It has also set up its first overseas military base in Djibouti in 2017, where the US also has its main base of operations in Africa.
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