Russia deploys military trainers and air-defense system to Niger, following US exit

Russia deploys military trainers and air-defense system to Niger, following US exit

Military instructors and personnel from Russia's defence ministry have arrived in Niger to train Nigerien soldiers and set up an air defense system in the country.

Niger state television RTN on Thursday, showed footage of a military cargo plane unloading gear in the country.

The deployment followed a recent agreement between Niger's junta and Russian President Vladimir Putin to enhance cooperation, Reuters reported.

"We are here to train the Nigerien army ... (and) to develop military cooperation between Russia and Niger," stated a man in camouflage uniform, identified by RTN as one of the instructors.

RTN also said Russia had agreed to install an anti-aircraft system in Niger. "Our airspace will now be better protected," the broadcaster said.

Niger has mirrored the military cooperation efforts of neighbouring juntas in Mali and Burkina Faso by forging closer ties with Russia.

Russia, which has been positioning itself to increase its influence in Africa, has not commented on the matter.

Niger and US strained military relationship

The arrival of Russian instructors follows Niger's recent move to terminate its military agreement with the United States. As of last year, there were about 1,100 U.S. troops stationed in Niger, where the U.S. military operates from two bases.

One of these bases includes a drone base named Air Base 201, situated near Agadez in central Niger, which was constructed at a cost exceeding $100 million.

The US said it had cautioned Niger on ties with Russia, and Iran before the military accord termination involving about 1,000 U.S. military personnel.


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