- Russia has vetoed a United Nations Security Council proposal, led by France and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), to a one-year extension of an independent monitoring team and the imposition of sanctions in Mali.1
- This follows the sanction monitoring team's report earlier this month that both state troops and foreign security partners were engaging in 'grave human rights abuses.' Thirteen Security Council members voted in favor of the resolution, with China abstaining and Russia rejecting the proposal.2
- The report's account of violence by foreign security partners — specifically against women in the regions of Menaka and Mopti — is widely accepted as a reference to Russia's mercenary Wagner Group.3
- The Wagner Group and the Malian junta have engaged in continued conflict against Islamic terror groups in the region, with the expiring sanctions having so far affected eight individuals. A 13K-member UN peacekeeping force is also set to leave the country by the end of 2023 after a decade-long operation by the junta's demand.2
- Sanctions were first placed on Mali in 2017. The Wagner Group has held a consistent presence in Mali since the second of two military coups in 2020 and 2021, while Mali officially supported Russia's invasion of Ukraine within the UN.4
- Russia counter-proposed the extension of sanctions in Mali for one year but an immediate end to the independent monitoring. 13 members of the Security Council abstained in the second vote, with Japan voting no, and only Russia voting in favor.5
- Anti-Russia narrative, as provided by The telegraph. Russia and the Wagner Group continue to fill the vacuum left by former colonial powers, taking advantage of the rising instability in various regions of Africa. This can be witnessed in Mali, Chad, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Chad, and even potentially Gabon after its latest coup. The free world must react quicker to reduce this growing influence or face potentially world-changing consequences in the future.
- Pro-Russia narrative, as provided by RT. The reality is that Russian security personnel have done more for Mali in the fight against jihadist insurgencies than the French or the UN ever have. Furthermore, the current pandemonium within the Sahel is a direct consequence of Western intervention in Libya via NATO. If the Security Council is to have any impact, a compromise and consideration of Mali's own interests must be prioritized over Western ideology.