The Soviet Union recognised the independence of Mali on 7 July 1960, and diplomatic relations between the two states were established on 14 October 1960. Following the collapse of the Mali Federation, and due to French support for Senegal, Modibo Keïta, the first President of Mali, sought closer ties with the Soviet Union. In 1961 the two countries signed trade and cultural pacts, and the Soviet Union granted Mali loans and other aid, which included the acquisition of two Ilyushin Il-18 passenger aircraft for Air Mali. Under the cultural agreement Russia sent circus performers, sports coaches and a soccer team to Mali.
When Keïta was overthrown by Moussa Traoré by a coup d'état in 1968, Traoré improved relations with France and other Western countries, but Mali remained dependent on the Soviet Union for the arming and training of its military. Approximately 50 Soviet military advisers provided armour, artillery and parachute training to Mali's military, and trained all of Mali's pilots. The Soviets also improved the Malian Air Force base in Mopti, and occasionally used Malian airfields to stage supply flights for groups it supported in Angola.
Russian Federation relations
On 16 January 1992, Mali recognised the Russian Federation as the successor state of the Soviet Union, after the latter's dissolution. Russia has an embassy in Bamako, and Mali has an embassy in Moscow. The current Ambassador of Russia to Mali is Anatoly Pavlovich Smirnov, who presented his Letters of Credence to President of Mali Amadou Toumani Touré on 4 November 2005. The current Ambassador of Mali to Russia is Bréhima Coulibaly, who presented his Letters of Credence to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on 16 January 2009.
- In 2003 in Bamako from April 30, 2003 to May 1, 2003 meetings were held by Alexander Makarenko, Director of the Africa Department of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with N. L. Traore, Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Mali.
- In 2005 Anatoly Safonov, the Special Presidential Representative for International Cooperation in the Fight Against Terrorism and Cross-Border Organized Crime, met from January 25, 2005 through January 28, 2005 in Bamako with his Mali counterpart.
- Ginsburgs, George; Slusser, Robert M. (1981). A calendar of Soviet treaties, 1958-1973. Brill Publishers. p. 845. ISBN 90-286-0609-2. Retrieved 2009-07-17.
- Bingen, R. James; Robinson, David; Staatz, John M. (2000). "From Military Dictatorship to Democracy". Democracy and development in Mali. Clark, Andrew F. MSU Press. pp. 255–256. ISBN 0-87013-560-0. Retrieved 2009-07-17.
- "Russia and Mali Sign Trade, Cultural Pacts". Chicago Tribune. March 19, 1961. Retrieved 2009-07-17.
- Guttery, Ben R. (1998). "Mali". Encyclopedia of African airlines. Ben Guttery. p. 120. ISBN 0-7864-0495-7. Retrieved 2009-07-17.
- "Russia Signs Pact to Sell Planes to Mali". Chicago Tribune. March 21, 1961. Retrieved 2009-07-17.
- "Reds Aid Mali". Associated Press in Eugene Register Guard. February 18, 1962. Retrieved 2009-07-17. "Under a cultural agreement with Mali, Russia« ill send circus performers, sports coaches and a football team to the former French African colony ..."
- "Soviet Military Policy in the Third World". Department of State. 21 October 1976. p. 28. Retrieved 2009-07-20.[dead link]
- (Russian) "Российско-малийские отношения". Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 16 February 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-17.
- (Russian) "Послы иностранных государств, вручившие верительные грамоты Президенту России". Presidential Press and Information Office. 16 January 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-03.
- "On Russian-Malian Inter-MFA Consultations". Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Retrieved 2009-07-17. "Russian-Malian political consultations took place in Bamako on April 30 - May 1, conducted by Alexander Makarenko, Director of the Africa Department of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and N. L. Traore, Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Mali."
- "Russian-Mali Consultations on the Combating of International Terrorism". Embassy of Russia in Ghana. Retrieved 2009-07-17. "His meetings with the President of the Republic of Mali and senior officials from security structures and the Foreign Ministry have shown that the two sides have common approaches to the problems in counteraction against international terrorism in all its manifestations. The Mali highly assessed the Russian Federation's contribution to intensifying the antiterrorist struggle, and its activity as the Chairman of the UN Counter-Terrorism Committee."
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