The Wagner mercenary group will continue operations in Mali and the Central African Republic despite its leader's aborted insurrection over the weekend, Russia's foreign minister said on Monday.
Wagner members "are working there as instructors. This work, of course, will continue," Sergei Lavrov said in an interview with the RT outlet.
Lavrov said Europe and France in particular had "abandoned" the two African countries, which had in turn asked Russia and Wagner to provide military instructors and "to ensure the security of their leaders."
Western powers believe the Wagner group is used to promote Russia's influence abroad and have accused the group of torture and exploiting natural resources.
In the RT interview, Lavrov also said the rebellion by Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin would not change anything in Russia's ties with its allies.
"There have been many calls (from foreign partners) to President (Vladimir) Putin... to express their support," he said.
Asked if there could be any changes to Russia's international relations as a result, Lavrov said: "With partners and friends, no. As for the others, frankly, I don't care. Relations between the collective West and us have been destroyed."