Somalia to get military support from Russia
MOSCOW - Russia has pledged to offer military assistance to the federal republic of Somalia, with the Horn of Africa nation gearing towards the activation of the second phase of operations against Al-Shabaab militants in a campaign targeting to eliminate the terror group.
A number of diplomats who spoke to the Voice of America said Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had made the offer during talks with his Somali counterpart, Abshir Omar Jama, in Moscow. Russia is currently involved in an active military campaign in Ukraine.
One diplomat said, “Russia was ready to provide Somalia's army with military supplies, to strengthen the government fight against al-Shabab.” The envoy, however, did not specify the kind of weapons Russia will dispatch to Somalia, nor did he disclose the period of delivery.
At the moment, Somalia is also fighting to be delisted from the United Nations arms embargo black book, a misery it has been handling since 1992 after the breakout of the civil war. The embargo was partially lifted in 2013 to help Somalia's security forces fight the Islamist militants.
The pledge from Russia to assist Somalia comes a few hours after the Al-Shabaab stormed into an Uganda-run military base in southern Somalia, where the group claimed it killed at least 137 peacekeepers, a figure which cannot be independently confirmed. The African Union Transition Mission in Somalia [ATMIS] confirmed the raid but did not give the number of casualties.
Earlier, at the opening of the talks between the two foreign ministers, Lavrov emphasized the long relationship between the two countries, which goes back to the quick Soviet recognition of Somalia after it gained independence in 1960. He also said he and Jama would discuss preparations for the Russia-Africa summit scheduled for late July in St. Petersburg.
In May 2010, Somalia reacted angrily to the way Russian marines handled their rescue of a tanker, the MV Moscow University, that had been hijacked 560 kilometers off the coast of Yemen. Somalia is fighting for stability and the progress made so far seems to be giving hope to thousands of peace and regional stakeholders.