The U.S. envoy to the United Nations has called on Russia to immediately stop violence in the Central African Republic (CAR) and pull out “mercenaries” from the poor but resource-rich country.

U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield made the plea on June 30 after a UN report said Russian military instructors and the CAR forces they are supporting had carried out indiscriminate killings, used excessive force against civilians, and looted in the war-torn African country.

“Russia must immediately stop the violence, hold those responsible accountable, and remove mercenaries endangering UN peacekeepers and undermining their crucial work in support of peace and security in the CAR,” she said.

Hundreds of Russian advisers, along with UN peacekeepers and Rwandan special forces, help President Faustin Archange Touadera combat rebel groups linked to former President Francois Bozize in the CAR’s civil war.

Western powers say Russia’s instructors are in fact mercenaries from the Vagner Group, a Russian military contractor with ties to the government.

The CAR government dismissed accusations made in an annual UN sanctions report as “slanderous” allegations, while the Kremlin described them as a “lie.”

Source – RFE/RL