Russia Says U.S., Others Are Lying That Military Was Involved in Killing African Citizens

Russia accused the United States, Britain and France of lying about the Russian military being involved in the killing of civilians in the Central African Republic on Monday.

At a U.N. Security Council meeting last week, the three countries accused Russian military contractors of killing civilians and looting homes during the conflict in CAR earlier this year. A U.N. Security Council report was cited on Sunday by the New York Times with the same accusations.

The report accused the Russians and Central African armed forces of human rights violations which "included cases of excessive force, indiscriminate killings, occupation of schools and looting on a large scale, including of humanitarian organizations."

When asked about the report during a conference call with reporters on Monday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov denied the allegations.

"Russian military advisers couldn't take part and didn't take part in any killings or lootings," Peskov said. "This is yet another lie."

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below:

Dmitry Peskov
Russian Presidential Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov seen during the military parade at Red Square, on May 9, 2021 in Moscow, Russia. Peskov denied the accusations by the U.N. Security Council report of Russians committing human rights violations in the Central African Republic. Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

The mineral-rich Central African Republic has faced deadly interreligious and intercommunal fighting since 2013. A peace deal between the government and 14 rebel groups was signed in February 2019, but large-scale violence has continued.

The country's Russia-backed president, Faustin Archange Touadera, won a second term in December's election but he has continued to face resistance from rebel forces linked to former President Francois Bozize. Russia has deployed military advisers in CAR training its military at the invitation of the government.

Last week, U.S., Britain and France accused Russian personnel in CAR of committing abuses against civilians and obstructing U.N. peacekeeping—accusations Russia angrily denied.

The Western powers linked the Russian personnel in CAR to the notorious Wagner Group, a private security company allegedly tied to Yevgeny Prigozhin, a businessman who has been indicted in the United States on charges of meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Companies linked to Prigozhin also have reportedly secured lucrative mining contracts in CAR. In 2018, three Russian journalists were killed in CAR while investigating Wagner's activities there and no suspects have been found.

Prigozhin earned the nickname "Putin's chef" for hosting Russian President Vladimir Putin and his foreign guests at his restaurant and catering important Kremlin events.

CAR Politics
Central African Republic's former prime minister Firmin Ngrebada, center, makes a statement during the transfer of power to the new prime minister in Bangui on June 15. The appointment of Henri Marie Dondra comes after Firmin Ngrebada announced his resignation as prime minister, along with that of his government. Russia has been accused of human rights violations in the Central African Republic. Barbara Debout/AFP via Getty Images