NewsRussia strikes military pact with São Tomé, escalating Gulf of Guinea tensions

Russia strikes military pact with São Tomé, escalating Gulf of Guinea tensions

The São Tomé and Príncipe Islands signed a military cooperation agreement with Russia.
The São Tomé and Príncipe Islands signed a military cooperation agreement with Russia.
Images source: © Getty Images | Jorge Fernández

1:04 PM EDT, May 9, 2024

The São Tomé and Príncipe islands have entered into an indefinite military cooperation agreement with Russia, marking what experts view as Russia's return to its Cold War roots. During that era, Soviet ships frequently visited the archipelago in the Gulf of Guinea, underscoring Moscow's quest for new allies.

This agreement between the former Portuguese colony and Russia permits the stationing of Russian aircraft and military vessels. It encompasses collaboration in military training, weapons and equipment usage, logistics, and the exchange of expertise in fighting extremism and terrorism.

Some political scientists express concern that this agreement could worsen the situation in the Gulf of Guinea region by involving the African country in exercises with the Russian army and facilitating the acceptance of Russian military equipment.

Moscow has long aimed to assert control over Africa to exploit its abundant resources, with the Wagner Group, a private military company, leading these efforts for years.

This indefinite agreement effectively signals the resurgence of Russian influence in the archipelago, which gained its independence from Portugal in 1975 with considerable support from Moscow.

The accord raises concerns regarding tourist safety. In light of the Russo-Santomese agreement, visiting the archipelago might be inadvisable, particularly for those whom Russia has targeted with an international arrest warrant.

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