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Putin ready to give out free weapons as Niger tensions boil over

Russian President Vladimir Putin is prepared to give weapons away for free to an African nation amid ongoing tensions in Niger, according to Burkina Faso’s interim president.

While speaking with Sputnik Africa on Monday, Burkina Faso interim President Ibrahim Traore spoke about support from Russia and said that Putin “refuses nothing” when it comes to weapons the African nation needs to fight terrorism.

“There are no restrictions, they do not refuse licenses, and it is at a good price. Russia is also ready to deliver weapons to us for free,” Traore told Sputnik Africa.

The comments by Traore come amid ongoing tensions in Niger, which is a neighbor to Burkina Faso, after democratically elected President Mohamed Bazoum was overthrown by soldiers and General Abdourahmane Tchiani was placed in charge.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday is pictured in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Putin is prepared to give weapons away for free to an African nation amid ongoing tensions in Niger, according to Burkina Faso interim President Ibrahim Traore.
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The military takeover was condemned by numerous nations including the U.S. and the United Nations Security Council.

According to Al Jazeera, the military governments of Burkina Faso and Mali also responded to the military takeover in Niger, saying, “The transitional governments of Burkina Faso and Mali express their fraternal solidarity … to the people of Niger, who have decided with full responsibility to take their destiny in hand and assume the fullness of their sovereignty before history.”

“Any military intervention against Niger would be tantamount to a declaration of war against Burkina Faso and Mali,” the statement added, according to Al Jazeera.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), however, issued a statement in response to the military takeover in Niger, saying that it would “take all measures necessary (that) may include the use of force” if Bazoum is not reinstated as president.

Earlier this month, Putin’s office issued a statement following a meeting with Traore: “Bilateral ties between Russia and Burkina Faso have traditionally been friendly. Last year we celebrated the 55th anniversary of diplomatic relations. We know that people in Burkina Faso treat Russia with sympathy and interest.”

“We are ready to work together to develop trade and economic cooperation. Our trade is not extensive yet, even in terms of Russia-Africa relations, but I believe we will discuss it today: there is room to grow,” the statement added.

During his interview with Sputnik Africa, Traore also discussed the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine, saying that while he doesn’t have a stance on the conflict, he noted that weapons being sent to Ukraine are ending up in Africa.

“We only deplore that weapons destined for Ukraine are on our continent and continue to activate our war. This is what we deplore,” Traore told Sputnik Africa.

Newsweek reached out to the Russian Foreign Ministry on Tuesday via email for comment.

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