Ukrainian Drones Shown Hunting Russian Mercenaries in Africa

Ukrainian forces are using drones to hunt down Russian mercenaries employed by the Kremlin in Sudan as part of a months-long operation, new footage appears to show.

The Kyiv Post newspaper released a minute-long clip on January 30 that it said was obtained from its sources in the Ukrainian special services. The publication said the video was filmed in recent weeks in an undisclosed part of the African country, and shows Ukrainian drones taking out Russian mercenaries in Sudan in three separate strikes against three different vehicles.

“The work on the destruction of Russian mercenaries and their local terrorist partners in Sudan is likely the work of Ukrainian special forces,” the Kyiv Post’s sources in Ukraine’s special services told the publication. “The planned work is being conducted,” the sources said.

Ukraine hasn’t claimed responsibility for strikes in Sudan, but the Kyiv Post reports that Ukrainian forces have been active in Sudan for months. Newsweek has contacted the foreign ministries of Russia, Ukraine, and Sudanese authorities for comment by email.

“The footage probably shows the work of special units of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine (HUR),” the newspaper quoted a source in Ukraine’s security and defense sector as saying. The source said that an operation was underway to “clean up” the remnants of the Russian paramilitary outfit the Wagner Group, “their local terrorists and the Russian Federation’s special services” in Sudan.

In September, CNN found that Ukrainian special services were likely behind a series of drone strikes and a ground operation near Sudan’s capital which was directed against Rapid Support Forces (RSF), a militia believed to be backed by the Wagner Group.

“Ukrainian special services were likely responsible,” a Ukrainian military source told the publication.

CNN said video footage it obtained “revealed the hallmarks of Ukrainian-style drone attacks” but that it couldn’t verify Kyiv’s involvement in the attacks.

“We can neither confirm nor deny this,” Andrii Yusov, representative of the Defense Intelligence of Ukraine, told the outlet.

Participants practice flying a drone on February 22, 2023, in Lviv region, Ukraine. Ukrainian forces are using drones to hunt down Russian mercenaries employed by the Kremlin in Sudan as part of a months-long operation,…

Sean Gallup/Getty Images
The Center for Strategic and International Studies, a U.S. think tank, said in an analysis in September 2023 that various sources have claimed that, through Libya, the Wagner Group—which was led by the late Yevgeny Prigozhin—has provided Sudan’s paramilitary forces and their leader Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo with military assistance and equipment in his fight over the country’s civilian leadership.

“According to international observers, the Wagner Group’s main goals in Sudan have been to ensure Moscow’s uninterrupted access to Sudanese gold reserves, the third largest in Africa; to finance its war effort in Ukraine; and to build a naval base at Port Sudan, which would only become possible after the restoration of the Sudanese civilian leadership,” the think tank said.

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