Top US diplomat warns Russian group not to interfere in Mali

DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is warning a shadowy Russian group with connections to the Kremlin against interfering in efforts to restore democracy in the West African nation of Mali. America’s top diplomat has wrapped up a weeklong, three-nation tour of Africa with a visit to Senegal, At a news conference in Dakar on Saturday, Blinken said it would be “unfortunate” if Russia’s Wagner Group became active in Mali, where there are internationally backed plans to have a democratically elected government in place by April. Wagner Group mercenaries have been deployed in Syria and in Libya, and that’s drawn increasing concerns from the West and others.