Sudan: Ukrainian special services ‘probably’ behind attacks on Wagner-backed forces, Ukrainian military source says | Albiseyler

Sudan: Ukrainian special services 'probably' behind attacks on Wagner-backed forces, Ukrainian military source says

Kyiv, Ukraine and N’Djamena, Chad

Ukrainian special services are believed to have been behind a series of drone strikes and ground operations targeting a Wagner-backed militia near the capital of Sudana CNN investigation found, raising the prospect that fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has spread far beyond the front lines.

In an interview with CNN, a Ukrainian military source described the operation as the work of a “non-Sudanese army”. When asked if Kiev was behind the attacks, the source would only say that “Ukrainian special services were probably responsible.”

The operation involved a series of attacks on a paramilitary group Rapid Support Forces (RSF)which is believed to be receiving help by Wagner, a Russian mercenary group, in its fight against the Sudanese army for control of the country.

CNN was unable to independently confirm Ukraine’s involvement in the series of strikes. But video footage obtained by CNN revealed the hallmarks of Ukrainian-style drone strikes.

Two commercially available drones widely used by Ukrainians were involved in at least eight attacks, with Ukrainian text visible on the drone’s controller. Experts also said the tactic used – specifically a pattern of drones swooping down on a target – was highly unusual in Sudan and the wider African region.

Covert strikes by Ukraine in Sudan would represent a dramatic and provocative expansion of Kiev against Moscow. In addition to the string Ukrainian drone attacks which hit deep inside Russian territory, Ukraine’s ongoing counter-offensive focused on the occupied east and south of the country.

Ukraine has not officially claimed responsibility for the attacks, which were captured on drone footage. Parts of these videos have been circulating on social media since Thursday. Footage from the ground operation has not yet been released.

A senior Sudanese military source said he was “not aware of the Ukrainian operation in Sudan” and did not believe it was true.

Several US officials appeared unaware of the alleged incident and expressed surprise at the suggestion that the strikes and ground operations may have been conducted by Ukrainian forces.

The videos, which alternate between the pilot’s view, the view of the drone watching overhead and the controller himself, show a series of drone strikes in and around Omdurman, a city across the Nile River from the capital Khartoum that has become a focal point. fighting between two opposing factions.

View this interactive content on

First Person View (FPV) drones allow pilots to watch traffic from the drone’s perspective with goggles or use a monitor to watch a live feed. What appears to be a DJI MAVIC 3 drone can be seen in videos filming drone strikes. Both types of drones are commercially available and widely used by Ukrainian forces.

The DJI MAVIC 3 drone has a maximum flight distance of 30 kilometers (about 18 miles), a video transmission range of 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) and a flight time of 46 minutes, which would suggest that the pilot would be operating the drone indoors. or very close to the city.

A video showing the drone controller’s monitor shows text in English and Ukrainian, including “Зупинити” or “Stop”. The drone operator can also be seen in the reflection of the controller, who looks alien, but the operator is wearing a hood and is not identifiable.

A British researcher who runs the Caliber Obscura website, which identifies weapons, analyzed the footage for CNN and said the device matched those used by Ukrainian forces to operate DJI MAVIC drones.

CNN geolocated the locations of the small-scale attacks and ground operations seen in the drone videos, but could not independently verify the date the videos were shot. Several strikes on the Shambat Bridge, which connects Omdurman and Khartoum, appeared consistent with local reports on social media about the September 8 attack.

The strikes came just two days after Wagner brokered a large arms convoy into Sudan through an RSF garrison in al-Zurug in the country’s southwest near the border with Chad, according to another senior Sudanese source. The official told CNN that a large number of vehicles arrived in Zurugu on September 6, including several trucks carrying weapons from Wagner. CNN obtained satellite images that showed over 100 vehicles, including dozens of trucks, in the crew that same day. Sudanese sources at the level said the convoy of weapons.

Two Chadian military informants told CNN that the convoy traveled through Chad to Zurugo, which would signal an expansion of Russia and Wagner’s sphere of influence in Africa, which is widely known to include Mali, Sudan, Central African Republic and Libya.

A powerful Russian mercenary group has played a public and key role in Moscow’s foreign military campaigns, specifically in Ukraine, and has been repeatedly accused of committing atrocities. In Africa, it helped fuel Moscow’s growing influence and resource capture.

Six drones attacked pickup trucks driving on the Shambat Bridge. Eight other attacks hit parked vehicles, buildings and armed men in Omdurman and the western suburb of Ombada, where the Sudanese army has carried out a series of airstrikes targeting RSF positions in recent weeks, reportedly killing dozens of civilians.

One of the videos showed at least three foreign fighters carrying out a raid on the building. In the clip, which was apparently recorded on a body camera, the soldiers were wearing night goggles and one of the soldiers appeared to be carrying a rocket launcher. Aerial footage showing soldiers advancing on the building was geolocated by CNN to a neighborhood in Omdurman near where the drone strikes took place.

CNN previously reported that according to sources Wagner adds RSF with surface-to-air missiles supporting RSF paramilitary fighters and their leader Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo – widely known as Hemedti – as he struggles for power with General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, Sudan’s military ruler and head of his armed forces.

Wim Zwijnenburg, head of the humanitarian disarmament project at Dutch peace organization PAX, said it was the first time the drones identified by CNN had been spotted in Africa.

“Such (FPV) roaming drones are seen for the first time on the African continent,” said Zwijnenburg, who specializes in new military technologies, including drones. “However, over the past year we have seen an increase in the use of such drones in Ukraine.”

Since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Zwijnenburg said both Ukrainian and Russian forces have been experimenting with FPV drones and equipping them with rocket-propelled grenades. Highly maneuverable and accurate, the munition can carry a payload large enough to pull a vehicle. While drones have previously been used to drop bombs in Ethiopia, Nigeria and Libya, the use of armed commercial drones that explode on impact is new in Africa, he added.

Some of the individuals seen as targets in the footage were wearing local clothing and pale uniforms that matched those worn by RSF soldiers and allied militias. In one video, fighter jets can be seen fleeing the scene of the raid with AK-47s.

The RSF, which has a large presence in the capital Khartoum and Omdurman, has been under frequent airstrikes by the Sudanese army since fighting broke out between the two groups in April. In a speech on Thursday, RSF chief Hemedti said his forces had almost taken control of Khartoum state, which includes Omdurman, and spoke of recent indiscriminate airstrikes in Omdurman and other towns.


Rapid Support Force leader General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo (Hemedti) speaks at a press conference in Khartoum, Sudan in April 2019.

Before the violence erupted this spring, Burhan and Hemedti were allies in the military junta that toppled an internationally recognized transitional government in 2021. Sudan’s military government has received Wagner’s support in the past, but Hemedti has emerged as Wagner’s preferred ally in the country over the years.

When fighting broke out, Wagner dropped the Sudanese army wholesale and supported Hemedti and his fighters in the conflict.

CNN has arms supply routes uncovered which helped sustain this conflict and passed through Wagner’s key transit points: a Russian air and naval base in the Syrian coastal region of Latakia, Wagner’s bases in Libya, and Bangui Airport in the Central African Republic.

Wagner has a significant presence in the Central African Republic as well as large parts of eastern Libya, which borders Sudan and where renegade general Khalifa Haftar controls large areas.

“Approximately 90% of the RSF’s weapons come from Wagner,” a senior Sudanese source told CNN, adding that Wagner’s supply of arms to the RSF continues unabated despite the deaths of the mercenary group’s leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin, and his deputy, Dmitry Utkin. in a plane crash on August 23.

Prigozhin’s demise raised questions about the future of Wagner’s operations in Africa, where a group of mercenaries used brutal tactics support militant groups and authoritarian regimes in exchange for mineral wealth. These resources – including huge concessions in Sudan’s gold mining industry — believed to have aided Moscow’s war effort in Ukraine and helped it circumvent sweeping Western sanctions.

PMC Wagner/Telegram/Reuters

The late Yevgeny Prigozhin shared a video on August 21, days before his death, suggesting he was with Wagner’s mercenaries in Africa.

Analysts and researchers have speculated that the Kremlin has consolidated control over the mercenary group’s activities in Africa as part of a larger effort to absorb the group into the Russian Ministry of Defense in the wake of Prigozhin’s failed coup in June.

Prigozhin had recently flown back to Russia from Africa when his plane crashed near Moscow, killing all on board. Two days after Prigozhin’s death, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Yunus-Bek Yevkurov embarked on a five-country tour of Wagner’s old haunts: Libya, Syria, Mali, Burkina Faso and the Central African Republic.

During the Russian-African summit in Saint Petersburg in late July – less than a month before Prigozhin’s death – the commander of the covert offensive operations of the Russian military intelligence service (GRU), General Andrey Averyanov, attended a meeting with the heads of Mali, Central African Republic. , Eritrea and Burkina Faso.

“We repeatedly asked the Kremlin about Wagner’s support for the RSF and they told us they had no information about it,” a senior Sudanese source told CNN. “The Kremlin and Wagner have become one and the same for us.”

At a time when Kiev is fighting Russia, it places strategic importance on deepening ties overseas, including relations between African countries. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba made three trips to the continent over the past year, during which he visited more than 10 countries.

“Russia is trying very hard to keep countries in its orbit using coercion, bribery and fear… Russia has two tools for its work in Africa, the most powerful are propaganda and Wagner,” Kuleba said in a recent interview with Agence France-Presse. .

“Our strategy is not to replace Russia, but to free Africa from Russia’s grip,” he added.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *