Russia flies nuclear bombers to Africa as Putin hosts continent’s leaders

One America News Network 3 weeks ago

October 23, 2019

By Darya Korsunskaya and Tom Balmforth

SOCHI/MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia despatched two nuclear-capable bombers to South Africa on a training mission on Wednesday, a flight that appeared timed to coincide with President Vladimir Putin’s opening of a flagship Russia-Africa summit designed to boost Russian influence.

The two Tupolev Tu-160 strategic bombers were due to land near Johannesburg later on Wednesday, Russia’s Interfax news agency cited South Africa’s military as saying. Russia’s Ministry of Defence has said the mission is designed to nurture military ties with South Africa.

Speaking before dozens of African heads of state at a two-day summit in the southern Russian city of Sochi, Putin called for trade with African countries to double over the next 4-5 years and said Moscow had written off African debts to the tune of over $20 billion.

The first Russia-Africa summit is part of a Kremlin drive to win business and restore influence that faded after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, which backed leftwing governments and movements across the continent throughout the Cold War.

The prize is greater political clout on a continent with 54 United Nations member states, sprawling mineral wealth, and potentially lucrative markets for Russian-manufactured weapons.

But Russia is starting from a low base. Although it has had considerable success selling arms to African countries, Moscow lags far behind competitors in trade terms.

Russia says its trade with African countries rose to $20 billion last year, but it did not rank among the continent’s top five largest partners for trade in goods, according to Eurostat.

That list was topped by the European Union, followed by China, India, the United States and the United Arab Emirates.

U.S. officials have vowed to counter what they see as Moscow’s growing political and economic clout in Africa as well as that of China, which has long had a large economic presence there and began its own series of Africa summits in 2006.

On Monday, Putin accused former colonial powers in the West of intimidating African countries in order to exploit the continent’s resources.

“We see how an array of Western countries are resorting to pressure, intimidation and blackmail of sovereign African governments,” Putin told the TASS news agency.

(Additional reporting by Maxim Rodionov in Moscow; writing by Tom Balmforth; editing by Andrew Osborn and Peter Graff)


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Reuters › 3 weeks ago
Russia despatched two nuclear-capable bombers to South Africa on a training mission on Wednesday, a flight that appeared timed to coincide with President Vladimir Putin's opening of a flagship Russia-Africa summit designed to boost Russian influence.
ABC News › Finance › 3 weeks ago
Two Tupolev Tu-160 bombers, which are supersonic Soviet-era aircraft capable of launching nuclear missiles, landed at a South African Air Force base on Wednesday.
The Boston Globe › 3 weeks ago
Russian President Vladimir Putin courted dozens of leaders of African nations Wednesday at the first-ever Russia-Africa summit while a pair of nuclear-capable bombers made an unprecedented visit to the continent, reflecting Moscow’s new push for clout.
Reuters › 3 weeks ago
Russia will land two nuclear-capable strategic bombers in South Africa on Wednesday, Interfax news agency cited South Africa's military as saying.
The New York Times › 0 month ago
Russian President Vladimir Putin is following China's lead and making a splashy bid for influence in Africa, hosting the continent's leaders this week in the first-ever Russia-Africa Summit. The Kremlin has said 47 of the continent's 54 heads of state...
Washington Times › 0 month ago
Russian President Vladimir Putin is following China's lead and making a splashy bid for influence in Africa, hosting the continent's leaders this week in the first-ever Russia-Africa Summit. The Kremlin has said 47 of the continent's 54 heads of state...
The New York Times › 0 month ago
The Russian military says two of its nuclear-capable bombers will visit South Africa in what appears to be the first-ever such deployment to the African continent.
ABC News › 0 month ago
Russia to send nuclear-capable bombers to South Africa for visit to help boost military ties
Sputnik International › Opinions › 3 weeks ago
As African nations head to Russia’s Sochi for the first-ever Russia-Africa Summit, the ability of the formerly colonized continent to “diversify” its relationships with non-European industrial countries like Russia, China, and India bodes well...
Washington Times › 3 weeks ago
Russian President Vladimir Putin is hosting dozens of leaders of African nations for the first-ever Russia-Africa summit, reflecting Moscow's new push to expand its clout on the continent.
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