Chad’s President Idriss Deby has engaged in a significant meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, where Putin applauded Deby’s efforts in stabilizing Chad.
The Russian leader, expressing satisfaction over Chad’s constitutional referendum, remarked, “We are glad that you have managed to stabilize the situation in the country.” Putin’s acknowledgment and interest in Chad’s security situation highlighted the Kremlin’s increasing focus on the Sahelian nation.
During the televised meeting, President Deby extended his condolences to Putin in the aftermath of a tragic military plane crash near Ukraine. The plane, carrying 74 individuals, including 65 Ukrainian prisoners of war slated for a swap, crashed in the Belgorod region.
In a heartfelt statement, Deby conveyed, “I would like, on my own behalf and on behalf of the people, to express my sincere condolences for these deaths and those of the soldiers.”
President Deby, who assumed leadership in Chad in 2021 after a coup following his father’s demise, has been steering the country through a critical period.
While Chad has historically been viewed as a stronghold of French influence in the region, recent developments indicate a shift in alliances, with Russia emerging as a prominent player.
The meeting in Moscow serves as a significant indicator that Putin is actively pursuing strengthened ties with Chad, challenging the prevailing trend of growing Russian influence in the region. Chad’s pivot towards Russia echoes a broader trend witnessed in Africa, where some nations are reevaluating their alliances.
This diplomatic reshaping is further evident in Niger’s recent engagement with Russia. Just a week prior to Deby’s meeting with Putin, Niger’s prime minister visited Moscow, resulting in an agreement to develop military ties between the two nations.
The strategic moves by African countries suggest a reconfiguration of relationships, with a notable departure from former alliances like France, the US and an increasing willingness to embrace collaboration with Russia.
In the same vein, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken embarked on a pivotal visit to Africa this week, aiming to bolster diplomatic ties and collaboration. During his tour, Blinken has emphasized the United States as a steadfast partner for African nations, particularly addressing security concerns in the Sahel region.
As geopolitical dynamics evolve, the changing direction of engagements marks a transformative phase in Africa’s diplomatic landscape, with nations like Chad and Niger seeking new partnerships and avenues for development.