STORY: On Monday, Federal Defense Minister Boris Pistorius visited the Bundeswehr Operations Command in Schwielowsee near Potsdam, where the Bundeswehr’s foreign operations are managed. He also spoke to the troops in Mali over the phone, the minister told the press. According to the Süddeutsche Zeitung, Pistorius is considering withdrawing the Bundeswehr from West African Mali before the previously planned date. But before a decision is made, the minister announced on Monday that he wanted to get his own picture on the spot: “No, nothing has changed in the current situation. We will continue to look at what can fly when. I have agreed that I will fly to Mali before the decision on the extension of the mandate is made in May. Probably even before the change of command, so that I can then get a comprehensive picture of the experiences of the last few months. But there hasn’t been any change at the moment.” Around 1,000 Bundeswehr soldiers are currently stationed in Mali. They are intended to ensure stability as part of the UN mission Minusma. However, the use has long been controversial, also because the Malian government is apparently working with Russia and the mercenary group Wagner.