US says 'no indication' Russia behind, or involved in Niger coup
There is 'no indication that Russia was behind this, Russia's militarily supporting it in any way,' says White House
By Michael Hernandez
WASHINGTON (AA) - There is "no indication" Russia was involved in the military overthrow of Niger's democratically-elected president, the White House said Tuesday.
Asked about Moscow's potential involvement in the ongoing tumult in the West African country, National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby told reporters the Biden administration has "no indication that Russia was behind this, Russia's militarily supporting it in any way, or in any way effectively supporting it."
Just hours earlier, Ukrainian presidential aide Mykhailo Podolyak accused Russia of being behind the coup.
“It is now absolutely clear that Russia is behind the so-called ‘military coup’ in Niger. It is a standard Russian tactic: to divert attention, seize the moment and expand the conflict,” Mykhailo Podolyak said in a statement on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.
Podolyak claimed that military juntas in neighboring Burkina Faso and Mali, where the Russian paramilitary Wagner Group is playing "an active role," contribute to the belief that Russia has “a global scenario for provoking instability to undermine the global security order."
The comments come as tensions continue to flare in West Africa with fellow military juntas vowing to support Gen. Abdourahamane Tchiani, the commander of Niger's presidential guard who declared himself the head of a transitional government on Friday following the overthrow of President Mohamed Bazoum.
The leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) bloc gave Tchiani a one-week deadline on Sunday to restore constitutional order in the country or risk military intervention from regional countries.
The African Union also told military leaders on Saturday that they had 15 days to return to their barracks and restore constitutional authority.
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