Anatoly Antonov
© Telegram/EmbUSARussian ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov (R) interacts with an African diplomat at the Russia-Africa gala in Washington on Tuesday, USA
Russia remains "firmly" committed to developing strategic partnerships with countries in Africa, Moscow's ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Antonov, has said.

"Through our joint efforts, the continent will become one of the leaders of the emerging multipolar world order. We will counter the neocolonialist ideology that is being imposed from outside," he said on Tuesday at a Russia-Africa gala in Washington ahead of the second Russia-Africa Summit.

Western governments have been vocal in their opposition to Russia's growing influence in Africa, with top US officials touring the continent in what Bloomberg described as a "campaign" to build America's influence in the region "where it has lost ground to its main rivals" - Moscow and Beijing.

Last year, French President Emmanuel Macron accused Russia of pursuing a "predatory project" to spread influence in African nations, where France, a former colonial power on the continent, has suffered recent setbacks.

However, Antonov insisted that Russia's dealings with Africa are not targeted at anyone.

He insisted that, while certain Western nations are inclined to hinder the establishment of a "just world order," Russia believes that "African states must be treated decently and equally."

The diplomat recalled that the USSR "rendered assistance to the nations in gaining and defending their independence." And now, he added, "Russia continues the policy of all-out support for the African states."

Antonov highlighted Russia's backing for Africa, including advocacy for increased representation on the UN Security Council and the G20. "We continue defense cooperation, including supply of Russian armaments and equipment to African partners and training of the military personnel," he stated.

On the sidelines of the event, which was attended by invited heads of diplomatic missions of African countries and their military attaches, a photo exhibition titled "USSR's aid to African countries in surmounting the colonial past" was displayed.

The second Russia-Africa Summit, scheduled for July 26-29 in St. Petersburg, is a critical step in shaping future relations, according to the diplomat. The event's main focus will be on strengthening African countries' sovereignty and role in global affairs, he said, adding that President Vladimir Putin is open to bilateral talks with all partners during the forum.