Russia has sent an additional 300 military instructors to the Central African Republic (CAR) to deal with what its foreign ministry calls a sharp degradation of security.
It said the CAR government, which is threatened by rebel groups ahead of Sunday’s presidential election, had asked for help.
Former President François Bozizé denies plotting a coup.
UN peacekeepers have said the rebel advance has been halted.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said the Russian military was not involved in fighting in the CAR and that the military instructors were not the army nor the Special Forces.