Moscow [Russia] October 1 (ANI/Sputnik): A special plane has delivered four Mi-171 helicopters, as well as weapons and ammunition, from Russia to Mali, Malian Defense Minister Sadio Camara said.
"We are here today to receive four Mi-171 helicopters, weapons and ammunition. Weapons and ammunition were donated by the Russian Federation. Four new helicopters ... were purchased with funds from the national budget," the minister told reporters on Thursday.
Camara stressed that Mali had always maintained a fruitful partnership with Russia.
According to the minister, his country received helicopters in accordance with the contract signed in December 2020 with the outlook to support the Malian armed forces in their fight against the Islamic State (terrorist group banned in Russia) and al-Qaeda, (terrorist group banned in Russia). The contact entered into force in June.
In September, the Malian authorities turned to Russian private military companies for counterterrorism assistance, since France decided to reduce its presence in the region. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that law does not prohibit private contractors to work in Mali, but dissociated the Russian government from the case. (ANI/Sputnik)