MOSCOW - Russia recently sent a group of 600 military instructors to the Central African Republic to train the army, police, and national gendarmerie, Russia's foreign ministry said Friday.
Moscow is in the spotlight after a United Nations report, seen by Reuters Tuesday, said Russian military instructors and local troops had targeted civilians with excessive force, indiscriminate killings, occupation of schools and large-scale looting.
The Kremlin has said it is a lie that Russian instructors had taken part in killings or robberies.
Russia notified the United Nations Security Council of the deployment of the 600 instructors, Russia's foreign ministry told Reuters in a statement Friday. It did not say when exactly they arrived.
Moscow has been jockeying for influence in the troubled African nation with France, which has around 300 troops there. The gold and diamond-rich country of 4.7 million people is mired in violence.
Moscow's latest deployment of instructors comes after it said it had sent 175 instructors to CAR to train the army at the request of the local authorities in 2018, a number that subsequently grew to 235. Another batch of 300 were sent ahead of last December's elections to train local troops, it said.
"The Russian specialists will continue their work based on the needs of the official authorities of the CAR, taking into account CAR's leadership as well as the ongoing clashes between regular CAR troops and militants," the foreign ministry said.
It said that the instructors would not themselves be involved in combat operations against illegal groups.
"The goals of achieving a lasting settlement and ensuring security in the country cannot be met without effective support for the CAR authorities in enhancing the combat capabilities of the national armed forces and law enforcement agencies," it said.