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Russian Troops Enter US Military Base In Niger, Reuters Says

In addition to the impending departure from Niger, U.S. troops have also left Chad in recent days, while French forces have been kicked out of Mali and Burkina Faso.

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Russian military personnel have entered an air base in Niger that is hosting U.S. troops, following a decision by Niger’s junta to expel U.S. forces from the country, Reuters reports.

The military officers ruling the West African nation have told the U.S. to withdraw its nearly 1,000 military personnel from the country, which until a coup last year had been a key partner for Washington’s fight against insurgents who have killed thousands of people and displaced millions more.

According to Reuters, a senior U.S. defense official said Russian forces were not mingling with U.S. troops but were using a separate hanger at Airbase 101, next to Diori Hamani International Airport in Niamey, Niger’s capital.

The move by Russia’s military puts U.S. and Russian troops in close proximity at a time when the nations’ military and diplomatic rivalry is increasingly acrimonious over the conflict in Ukraine.

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It also raises questions about the fate of U.S. installations in the country following a withdrawal. The situation is not great but in the short-term manageable, the official said.

The U.S. and its allies have been forced to move troops out of a number of African countries following coups that brought to power groups eager to distance themselves from Western governments.

In addition to the impending departure from Niger, U.S. troops have also left Chad in recent days, while French forces have been kicked out of Mali and Burkina Faso.

Russia is seeking to strengthen relations with African nations, pitching Moscow as a friendly country with no colonial baggage in the continent.

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