Over the past few weeks the US government has made quiet but insistent appeals to urge African states to create no fly zones for Russian planes affiliated with the paramilitary group Wagner. After persuading Chad and Niger to take such steps, Washington is now trying to convince Algeria and Guinea.
Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov is about to appoint a new ambassador to Bangui after six months of dithering. The Russian paramilitary group Wagner is meanwhile reorganising itself in the Central African Republic under the leadership of Yevgeny Prigozhin and Dimitri Utkin, who have both been in Bangui in recent months.
The US intelligence services have asked several African governments for help in halting the movements of private jets belonging to Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin. A close associate of Vladimir Putin, he is a key figure in the Wagner group and has been targeted by US sanctions.
As France downgrades its relations with the Central African Republic (CAR), which it sees as too much under Russian influence, the authorities there are exerting pressure on French companies still active in the country.
Breaking news published on 14/05/21, 1:50 p.m., updated on 16/05/21 - As tensions between Paris and Moscow over their battle for influence reach new highs, Russia's CAR ambassador Vladimir Titorenko, who has held this post since January 2019, will head home this summer.
The Chinese-run Canadian junior Axmin has retained the lawyer and presidential candidate Crépin Mboli-Goumba following the loss of its Central African gold permit to Midas Ressources, a firm reported to have Russian ties.
While Paris is trying to win the influence war against the Russian paramilitary group Wagner the old-fashioned way, Washington has turned to the research world and NGOs with its Tearline program. The program's latest research focuses on Wagner's various activities in Africa.