The Central African Republic says it is ready to host a Russian military base on its soil, while Moscow is seeking to establish itself militarily in the region.
It is a call from the foot that looks like a real project: in the Russian daily Izvestia, the ambassador of the Central African Republic (CAR) in Moscow, Léon Dodonu-Punagaza, indicated that his country was ready to welcome the construction of a "military base", also referring to an increase in Russian military aid to Bangui.
This is enough to plague Westerners, and in particular the French and Americans. Because the speech of the diplomat is to say the least clear: “Our country is the first country in Africa to have resisted the French. In recent weeks, when Russia delivered six military aircraft to us, it was the French who started screaming. But this is none of our business, we are interested in cooperation with Russia,” summed up Leon Dodonu-Punagaza to the Russian newspaper.
Simple provocation or real cooperation project? At first glance, the announcement precedes a quick set up of things. The Central African ambassador actually mentions between 5 and 000 Russian soldiers, who could be stationed in this future military base which would be a regional hub. Because these Russian soldiers "could be used in other countries" in the area, says Léon Dodonu-Punagaza.
Six countries targeted
This future military base is one more step taken by Bangui, already accused by the West of being one of the most welcoming countries with the paramilitaries of the Wagner group. A project that could be signed between the two countries this summer – why not at the Russia-Africa summit – and which is, as the diplomat says, a big snub to France.
For Moscow, it is also a way to achieve its goals. In 2020, German diplomacy leaked a report in which it assured that Russia planned to establish six military bases in Africa. Among the countries targeted, there was then the CAR, but also Egypt, Eritrea, Madagascar and Sudan.
On the side of Madagascar, France is pushing to prevent Russia from setting up there. As for Sudan, Moscow is certainly waiting to hear the outcome of the war there. On the Egyptian side, there was talk five years ago of Moscow accessing the Sidi Barrani base. If Russian soldiers and drones had been detected, Russia and Egypt had denied any Russian presence on this base. From now on, all eyes are on the CAR: Bangui seems to be the ideal partner for setting up a military base.