The United Nations has extended its peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic (CAR) that was established in 2014 as the United States called on Russia to investigate accusations of abuse by Russian contractors in the country.
Russia and China abstained in the Security Council vote on Friday because the Security Council resolution did not reflect concerns expressed by the CAR government.
The U.N. mission, known as MINUSCA has some 12,000 troops and 2,000 police.
Russian instructors and CAR troops are accused by U.N. experts of targeting civilians with excessive force, indiscriminate killings, occupation of schools and large-scale looting. The Kremlin has denied accusations.
“We would like to call attention to the use of the phrase ‘all parties to the conflict’ in the resolution, which in our view, includes these Russian contractors – they must respect international humanitarian law and it is imperative that they respect the human rights of all Central Africans,” said deputy U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Richard Mills.
Mills said Washington called on both the Central African Republic and Russian governments to fully investigate accusations of abuse and to hold those responsible accountable.
“Again and again, we hear from a number of council members unfounded egregious accusations regarding our specialists that we have rejected on several occasions,” deputy Russian U.N. Ambassador Anna Evstigneeva said.
“If there have been violations, then they should be investigated primarily by the national authorities in the CAR. We are in bilateral contact with them and we coordinate work with them,” she told the council.
Russia has sent hundreds of military instructors to the gold- and diamond-rich country of 4.7 million people mired in violence to train the army, police, and national gendarmerie.