MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin is telling leaders at the first-ever Russia-Africa summit that developing economic and security ties with the continent ranks among Moscow's top foreign policy priorities.
Addressing the two-day meeting in Sochi that wraps up Thursday, Putin noted that African nations have emerged as "one of important pillars of the multi-polar world."
The Russian leader emphasized that Russia and African nations should expand their cooperation in combating extremism.
During the Cold War, the Soviet Union provided generous economic and military aid to many African countries amid global rivalry with the United States. Moscow's influence withered after the 1991 Soviet collapse, but in recent years the Kremlin has intensified efforts to bolster ties with Africa.