Traoré says «Russia is a state like any other» amid speculation about Moscow’s role

Captain Ibrahim Traoré, leader of Friday’s coup d’état in Burkina Faso, said Monday that “Russia is a state like any other” in the face of speculation that Moscow was mainly responsible for the change of power in the country because demonstrators carried Russian flags during Saturday’s protests.

“In our Army we use a lot of Russian material,” he said, while indicating that he sees no implications in the fact that protesters waved Russian flags on Saturday in the streets of the capital, Ouagadougou, as he explained in an interview to Radio France Internationale (RFI).

These statements come after demonstrators at the protests called for greater Russian involvement to the detriment of France, calling to imitate its role in Mali. The Russian Wagner Group has sent mercenaries to several African countries in recent years – including Libya and the Central African Republic (CAR) – which has raised suspicions about Moscow’s involvement in several conflicts on the continent.

As explained by the French television channel TF1, by failing to neutralize the jihadist groups in the region, which on the contrary have developed despite the scale of Operation Barkhane, France is paradoxically seen as responsible, even complicit in the insecurity in Burkina Faso.

The Czech Republic, which holds the ‘pro tempore’ Presidency of the European Union, is one of the countries that has expressed concern about the Russian flags on the country’s streets. “After Mali, the Kremlin is sowing chaos in another country in the #Sahel region, which the European Union and the Czech Republic are helping to stabilize and develop,” it has said in a message on its official Twitter profile.

On the other hand, Traoré has also condemned the throwing of objects against the walls of the French diplomatic representation in the country, whose interior was set on fire. Protesters also attacked the French high school in Bobo Dioulasso, in the west of the country. In this way, he criticized “the excesses of the crowd”.

“Be patriotic, peaceful demonstrators and do not participate in acts of vandalism,” Traoré asked. Apart from the protests, Burkina Faso wants “the end of the partnership with France”. “There are things to improve,” he said.

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