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Russian Military Enter Niger Airbase Where US Army Already There

A senior US defense official has said that Russian military personnel have entered an airport in Niger. American soldiers are already present at this airport. 

This is a step that has been taken after the decision of Niger's junta to expel American forces. Due to this, American soldiers are present on one side of this airbase in Niger and Russian soldiers are present on the other side. 

This has led to a faceoff situation between American soldiers and Russian soldiers. This is the first time since the beginning of the Cold War that American and Russian troops are present at the same airbase.

Military officials ruling the West African nation of Niger have asked the US to withdraw about 1,000 of its military personnel from the country. 

The soldier was a key participant in Washington's fight against rebels who have killed thousands and displaced millions until last year's coup. Niger's military junta is considered close to Russia.

A senior US defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Russian forces were not mixing with US troops but were using a separate hangar at Air Base 101, which is adjacent to Diori Hamani International Airport in Niger's capital Niamey. 

The Russian military move brings American and Russian troops closer at a time when the countries' military and diplomatic rivalry over the conflict in Ukraine is becoming increasingly intense. 

The move also raises questions over the fate of US installations in Niger after the withdrawal of US troops.

"(The situation) is not very good but it can be managed in the short term," the US official said. On the other hand, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin downplayed any risk to US troops or the possibility of Russian troops getting close to US military hardware. 

Austin said at a press conference in Honolulu, "The Russians are in a separate compound and their There is no access to the US military or our equipment." 

He said, "I always focus on the safety and protection of our soldiers... but right now, I do not see any significant issue here in terms of the security of our force."

The Nigerian and Russian embassies in Washington did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The US and its allies have been forced to withdraw their forces from several African countries following the coup, which has brought to power groups eager to distance themselves from Western governments. 

In addition to the impending departure from Niger, US troops have also left Chad in recent days, while French forces have been pulled out of Mali and Burkina Faso.

At the same time, Russia is trying to strengthen relations with African countries, presenting Moscow as a friendly country that has no colonial history in the continent. 

For example, Mali has become one of Russia's closest African allies in recent years. He has deployed Wagner Group mercenaries to his country to fight jihadist rebels.