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Ukrainian Special Forces in secret mission against Russians in Sudan – WSJ

In a bid to undermine Russian influence and deprive the Wagner group of gold mining profits, Ukrainian special forces have been deployed to Africa.
Alledgedly the Ukrainian special forces in Sudan. Photo: Screenshot from the WSJ video
Ukrainian Special Forces in secret mission against Russians in Sudan – WSJ

The Wall Street Journal has revealed some details about Ukrainian operations in Sudan. 

“The front line in the war between Ukraine and Russia now extends to Africa,” the article notes.

Five key facts about Ukrainian operations in Sudan from the article:

  1. Sudan secretly supplied Kyiv with weapons immediately after the Russian invasion in 2022. Over decades of conflict in Sudan, the country received a variety of weapons from different countries, including the USA, Russia, and China. By the time of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Sudan had a significant amount of weaponry that Ukraine desperately needed.

“We took a lot of weapons out of Sudan. Different countries paid for them. Sudan had a wide range of weapons, from Chinese to American,” said Kyrylo Budanov, the head of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine.

  1. The first Ukrainian unit in Sudan, the 100-strong “Timur Special Unit” of Ukrainian Intelligence, was later replaced by another unit. In total, no more than a couple of companies operated in Sudan, achieving success and “making a difference” without suffering any losses.
  2. The first task of the Ukrainian special forces was to assist in the evacuation of the head of Sudan, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, from the capital Khartoum, where he was surrounded by the rebel group RSF (“Rapid Support Forces”), which was supplied and supported by the Wagner group. A few weeks later, Burhan met with Zelenskyy at Shannon Airport in Ireland.
Ukrainian Special Forces in secret mission against Russians in Sudan - WSJ
Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Abdel Fattah al-Burhan at Shannon Airport in Ireland, September 2023. Photo: Ukrinform

     4. Initially, the Ukrainian special forces in Sudan carried out drone strikes on RSF positions and supply routes to Khartoum, where they were entrenched, disrupting their logistics. The WSJ writes that the TB2 Bayraktar drones were very helpful, although the Ukrainian Intelligence does not officially confirm their use. The Ukrainians were then able to quickly train the Sudanese military to use FPV drones.

“The Sudanese showed enthusiasm for them,” says the commander of one of the Ukrainian units.

Kyiv is also helping Sudan with food – shipments of wheat flour are being sent to Port Sudan.

  1. In recent weeks, the Sudanese army has regained control over Omdurman (the second-largest city in Sudan, located on the opposite bank of the Nile River from the capital Khartoum). This is their first major success since the start of the conflict, which they achieved in part with the help of Ukrainian special units.

The Ukrainian presence undermines the position of the Wagner group in Sudan, which profits from gold mining.

“If they have gold mines in Sudan, we must deprive them of profit,” said a Ukrainian officer.

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