Lavrov Rips Into Macron, Defends African States Dubbed ‘Illegitimate Regimes, Juntas’ by French Prez

The Russian foreign minister carried out a five-day, four-nation trip to Africa this week, visiting Egypt, the Republic of the Congo, Uganda and Ethiopia, where he and his hosts discussed ways to shore up ties, increase non-dollar trade, and boost cooperation in areas ranging from energy, transport, and agriculture to the military-technical sphere.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has blasted French President Emmanuel Macron over claims that Moscow is backing “juntas” in Africa.
“If I remember correctly, he said that he was concerned with Russia’s military and diplomatic activity in Africa and with what he said was not cooperation, but the support of failed, illegitimate regimes and Juntas,” Lavrov said, speaking to reporters in Uzbekistan on Friday.
“As far as President Macron and his statements are concerned, one would really expect more ethical statements from the French,” the Russian diplomat added.

“If you look at the list of the countries we visited in Africa, if this is what Macron was referring to, then it would be quite insulting for the states that continue, in spite of everything, to consistently develop relations with the Russian Federation,” Lavrov stressed.

In a tour of Africa this week held in parallel with Lavrov’s, Macron accused Russia of starting “a new kind of hybrid world war,” and characterized Moscow as “one of the last imperial colonial powers.”

“When you see them popping up over here, that’s what’s happening,” the French president said. Referencing Russian activities in the Central African Republic and Mali, Macron accused Moscow of coming in “to support either weakened political powers which are struggling to take responsibility or to illegitimate juntas,” and of using “disinformation” and “militias” to reach its goals.

Macron’s claims raised eyebrows, as Russia is the only major European power which never had colonies in Africa, and never robbed the continent of its resource, human and development potential. Last week, in an interview with Sputnik ahead of his Africa tour, Lavrov recalled Moscow’s long-standing support for African nations during the 20th century, when Moscow assisted the region in its national liberation struggle against the colonial powers, and provided economic and educational support to dozens of nations after they won independence.
During this week’s whirlwind tour of Africa, Lavrov and his hosts discussed the potential for increased cooperation in areas ranging from nuclear energy and trade to military-technical support. At a joint press conference with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on Tuesday, Lavrov told a Sputnik correspondent that Africa will be sure to play a bigger role in Russia’s foreign policy amid Western attempts to isolate Moscow.