Russia Landed Nuclear Bombers In Africa When Putin Hosted Continent’s Leaders
In a show of strength, Russia landed two nuclear bombers in South Africa in a military training mission set to coincide with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s opening of the first Russia-Africa Summit, according to Reuters.
South Africa’s National Defence Force confirmed that two Tupolev Tu-160 strategic bombers touched down at Waterkloof Air Force Base in Tshwane on Oct. 23 during a two-day summit in Moscow that hosted some 43 African leaders.
“Our relations are not solely built on ‘struggle politics’, but rather on fostering mutually beneficial partnerships based on common interests,” the South African National Defence Force said in a statement.
Russia strengthening ties with Africa
The Kremlin has been working to strengthen ties with Africa in an effort to garner influence and increase investments, following in China’s footsteps as the U.S. isolates itself and ignores Africa.
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Russia has been boosting its political contacts in the region, with 12 African heads of state visiting Moscow since 2015 — six of them in 2018 alone, according to BBC.
Yevgeny Prigozhin, a man known as “Putin’s Chef” who became a billionaire from catering contracts with the Kremlin, is leading Russia’s push into Africa.
The past decade has seen a surge of Russian interest in Africa.
The country’s foreign ministry reported a more-than-threefold trade increase with African countries over the past decade.
“Many Russian companies have long and successfully worked with partners from the most different sectors of the African economy and plan to expand their influence in Africa. We, of course, will provide support at the state level,” Putin said during the summit.