MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia has opened a representative office in the Central African Republic and donated ten armoured vehicles to the country, the RIA news agency said on Saturday, citing the Russian ambassador.
Moscow has been solidifying its presence in the CAR in recent years, sending weapons and contractors and political advisors, and has been growing its role on the continent overall as part of a renewed push for global prestige.
Five members of the Russian military arrived in the capital Bangui on Saturday led by Oleg Polguev, the senior military officer who will head up the Russian defence ministry’s representative office, RIA reported.
Polguev will also serve as an advisor to the CAR’s defence ministry, the news agency cited Vladimir Titorenko, the Russian ambassador to CAR, as saying.
Titorenko, who said Moscow was considering sending more military instructors to Bangui, said CAR Prime Minister Firmin Ngrébada was travelling to Russia where he will meet officials and discuss economic cooperation between the two countries.
The African nation has asked for Moscow’s help in lifting an arms embargo imposed by the United Nations, Titorenko was cited as saying.
“So that, aside from [armoured vehicles] it would be possible to supply heavy weaponry, including artillery and helicopters,” he said.
Writing by Polina Ivanova; Editing by Mike Harrison
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