UNITED NATIONS (AP) – Tensions between Russia and the West are heightening discussions over the future of one of the United Nations’ largest and most perilous peacekeeping operations, the force sent to assist the Mali to resist a decade-long extremist Islamist insurgency.
The UN mission in the West African country is due for renewal this month, at a volatile time when extremist attacks are intensifying. Three UN peacekeepers have been killed this month alone. Mali’s economy is suffocating under sanctions imposed by neighboring countries after its military rulers postponed a promised election. France and the European Union are ending their own military operations in Mali in a context of degraded relations with the ruling junta.