The Russian Federation has advised the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) against military intervention in the Niger Republic in response to the coup.

The ECOWAS on Sunday, resolved to use all measures necessary to restore constitutional order in Niger, including the use of force, if its demands are not met in a week’s time.

Responding in a joint statement on Monday, Mali and Burkina Faso, West African countries suspended from ECOWAS on account of military coups, backed the actions of the Nigerien military.

The countries warned against any further interventions that would “jeopardise the spirit of Pan-Africanism” and threatened a withdrawal from the regional bloc.

The countries also said any military intervention against Niger would force them to also adopt “self-defence measures” in support of the “brotherly” armed forces and the people of Niger.

Addressing the situation on Wednesday, Maria Zakharova, spokesperson of the Russian foreign ministry, said the use of force by the ECOWAS would be unhelpful.

Zakharova said the threat of military intervention in Niger will not contribute to a settlement, adding that Moscow considers it essential to “prevent a new degradation” of the situation in the West African country.

“We think that the threat of the use of force against a sovereign state will not help to defuse tensions and resolve the situation in the country,” the spokesperson told reporters.

The Russian government official recommended “urgent national dialogue” as the way forward in restoring democracy to the unstable Western African country that has experienced five coups.

Although Russia has condemned the coup in Niger, the Wagner Group, a private mercenary group in the European country, has hailed the military takeover.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, the mercenary leader, and his fighters have played a significant role in many African states, to the dismay of the West, and most recently arrived in the Central African Republic (CAR) ahead of a constitutional referendum.

On Tuesday, Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to the Ukrainian president, accused Russia of being behind the coup in Niger.

Podolyak said it is a standard Russian tactic to divert attention and expand the conflict, adding that Prigozhin’s approval of the military takeover is proof of Russia’s involvement.


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