After consolidating in Mali, Moscow is strengthening its collaboration with Burkina Faso and Niger through an armed structure intended to replace the Wagner Group

Russia is expanding its influence and military presence in the Sahel at an unprecedented pace. After consolidating itself in Mali — where Wagner Group mercenaries were decisive in the national army’s reconquest of Kidal against the Tuareg rebels last November — Moscow is now laying the foundations for its deployment in Burkina Faso and negotiating with Niger to become a key military ally.

To this end, the Russian government has created a new military structure called Africa Corps, which works under the Defense Ministry. In this way, it intends to replace the Wagner Group and move away from a decentralized private company to one that is more directly controlled by the state. In parallel, at the beginning of December, the U.N. made official its complete withdrawal from Mali after handing over the Mopti base to the Malian authorities.