MOSCOW/KAMPALA – Uganda has been named among 13 countries targeted by Russia in a new wave of world super powers scramble for influence in Africa, with arms deals a key part of the bait.
Apparently, Russia is looking to edge out the USA, China and former other colonial powers like German and France according to a report by UK’s Guardian newspaper.
Russia is on a quest to strengthen its presence in at least 13 countries across Africa by building relations with existing rulers, striking military deals, and grooming a new generation of “leaders” and undercover “agents”, the leaked documents have revealed.
Russia views Uganda as one of the potential new markets in Africa to which the Kremlin can export military weapons.
This comes on the heels of Russia’s recent loss of major arms clients from North Africa and Asia as a result of rising insecurities in those territories.
The newspaper quoted leaked intelligence report that reveals
According to The Moscow Times, a Russian newspaper also recently quoted the Head of Federal Service for Military and Technical Cooperation, Alexander Fomin who assured Russians that the Moscow regime would make up for the lost weapons markets by building new ones in Uganda, Ghana, Mali, Peru and Oman among other targeted countries.
The mission to increase Russian influence on the African continent is being led by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a businessman based in St Petersburg who is a close ally of the Russian president, Vladimir Putin.
The intention is to “strong-arm” the United States and the former colonial powers like the UK and France out of the region.
Another major objective is to see off “pro-western” uprisings, the documents say.
In late 2008, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni visited Moscow and discussed arms sales with Russian President Vladimir Putin. However, UPDF spokesperson, Col. Felix Kulayigye, refutes claims that Uganda is not a potential market for Russian arms.
It is a fact that Uganda has been buying Russian military weapons for many years some of the deadly Russian artillery in UPDF’s possession include; Tanks, Sukhoi jets and rifles among other war-fare tools according to Col. Felix Kulayigye.
According to reliable army sources, Russian weapons are relatively cheaper as compared to other International arms suppliers; this makes them cost- friendly especially for developing nations such as Uganda.
It is on record that Uganda bought six fighter jets from Russia in the year 2011.
The costly airborne weapons were valued at a staggering 740 million U.S. dollars which is the local equivalent of 1.8 trillion Ugandan shillings.
The controversial deal shocked many Ugandans who felt that the huge sums of money spent on the aircrafts could have been better spent on other needy sectors like education, healthcare or infrastructure projects like tarmac roads.
Russia’s has been selling weapons on a large scale to Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia in North Africa and to war-torn Afghanistan but political disorder and constant conflicts in the Arab world have negatively impacted Russia’s trade on that front.
According to records, Russia’s foreign weapons sales exceeded $14 billion in 2012, this makes Putin’s country the world’s second major arms exporter after the USA.
The leaked documents also reveal the scale of Russia’s recent operations in Africa, and Moscow’s ambition to turn the region into a strategic hub.