The Russian government was mentioned in Washington DC last week by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo when he alleged that the Wagner group, a mercenary organization linked to the government is operating next door to Burkina Faso.
President Akufo-Addo who was in the US for the US-African Leaders’ summit in a meeting with Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, called on the US government to help deal with the threat posed by the group.
“I think that beyond everything, there is a matter that I want to urge upon you. Today, Russian mercenaries are on our northern border. Burkina Faso has now entered into an arrangement to go along with Mali in employing the Wagner forces there.
“I believe a mine in southern Burkina has been allocated to them as a form of payment for their services. The Prime minister of Burkina Faso in the last 10 days has been in Moscow. And to have them operating on our northern border is particularly distressing for us in Ghana,” he said.
Whiles the Russian government hasn’t publicly reacted to the comments in which Akufo-Addo went further to allude to possible Russian aggression on Ghana because of her stance on the Russia-Ukraine conflict; the Russian Embassy in Accra has been posting subtle responses on Twitter.
The most recent is an opinion piece by one Michael Mahanta on the TFIGlobal news portal. The December 19, 2022 piece titled ‘IMF literally bribes Ghana to turn it against Russia,’ draws a link between Ghana’s ongoing negotiations with the IMF for a bailout as motivation for Akufo-Addo’s comments.
“Now, the statements from Ghana against Russia’s Wagner forces at a time when it receives IMF assistance (that too, going back on its own promise), couldn’t have just been a coincidence.
“Burkina Faso’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also said that Ghana could have undertaken exchanges with the Burkinabe authorities on the security issue in order to have the right information,” it added.
The author continued: “Ghana under economic pressure has finally come under Western influence and there’s every possibility that Ghana is only talking the West’s language against Russia. The west has faced widespread criticism from governments and people of Western African countries and anti-West sentiments are growing for some time.
“West African countries that once had good diplomatic, economic and strategic ties with France, have dumped it as they have realized such partnerships have only created more crisis than solving in the region.”
In the immediate aftermath of Akufo-Addo’s comments, the embassy also posted two tweets, one of international relations expert Vladimir Antwi-Danso stating in a Joy FM interview that Ghana would have taken sides in the Russia-Ukraine war if it aligned with the US.
The embassy also posted an opinion piece by Mr. Adib Saani, Security Analyst at Jatikay Centre for Human Security and Peace Building titled: “President Making nonsense of Ghana’s Non-Aligned posture.”
Burkina Faso recalled its ambassador to Ghana for consultations and also summoned Ghana’s ambassador in Ouagadougou for clarifications on the issues raised by Akufo-Addo.