The German defence ministry said Friday it had suspended most of its operations in Mali after the local military-led government denied flyover rights to a UN peacekeeping mission. “The Malian government has once again refused to give flyover rights to a flight planned today” for the rotation of personnel on the ground, a ministry spokesman said at a regular press conference. In response, Germany had decided to “suspend until further notice the operations of our reconnaissance forces and CH-53 (helicopter) transport flights”. “It is no longer possible to support the MINUSMA reconnaissance missions on an operational basis,” the spokesman said. Without the new troops, who were set to “replace French forces” in the process of withdrawing, “security on site is not assured” as the “remaining forces must be kept ready for security operations”. The flyover rights were refused despite assurances to the contrary from the Malian Defence Minister Sadio Camara in a call with his German counterpart Christine Lambrecht Thursday, the spokesman said. “Camara’s actions tell a different story than his words,” Lambrecht said in a statement posted by her ministry on Twitter. The German move comes as Mali’s junta turned away from France and toward Russia in its fight against jihadism.