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West, Russia Clash Over Russian Mercenaries in Central African Republic

A Rwandan peacekeeper of the MINUSCA, a private Russian security guard and a member of the the presidential guard in Bangui, Central African Republic (CAR).

A Rwandan peacekeeper of the MINUSCA, a private Russian security guard and a member of the the presidential guard in Bangui, Central African Republic (CAR).

Photographer: Alexis Huguet/AFP/Getty Images

United Nations (AP) -- The United States, Britain and France accused Russian mercenaries on Wednesday of operating alongside Central African Republic forces and committing human rights violations against civilians and obstructing U.N. peacekeeping -- charges immediately denied by Russia which denounced the Western nations for engaging in an “anti-Russia political hit job.”

The exchanges took place at a U.N. Security Council meeting after the U.N. special representative for the conflict-wracked Central African Republic, Mankeur Ndiaye, expressed serious concern at the military counter-offensive by the country’s security forces and “bilateral forces and other security forces” against a coalition of rebel groups which supports CAR’s former president Francois Bozize.