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Military intelligence: Russia planning disinformation campaign about Ukrainian fighters in Sudan

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk April 17, 2024 3:56 PM 2 min read
Illustrative image grab taken from AFPTV video footage on April 28, 2023, shows an aerial view of black smoke rising over Khartoum, Sudan. (AFPTV/AFP via Getty Images)
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Russia plans to sow disinformation in African media that accuses Ukraine of using Western-supplied arms to fight in Sudan, Ukraine's military intelligence (HUR) said on April 17.

Russia maintains a strong presence in African countries like Sudan through its Wagner Group and other entities, helping prop up authoritarian governments, fueling destabilization, and extracting resources to fund its war against Ukraine.

Moscow may plant fake stories in African media with fabricated photos of U.S.-produced weapons obtained by Wagner Group mercenaries in Ukraine, HUR warned.

"The Kremlin will also try to emphasize that elite Ukrainian special forces are participating in hostilities in Africa," drawing African attention away from its war in Ukraine, HUR said.

HUR said this plan is being developed "against the background of the weakening of the positions of Russia and its proxy forces" in Africa.

The Wall Street Journal reported in March that a small number of Ukrainian army teams took part in hostilities in Sudan, helping the country's leader fend off Wagner Group-backed rebel forces.

Claims have previously appeared in other media publications that Ukrainian special forces took part in operations in Sudan and are responsible for strikes against Wagner-backed militants.

According to the WSJ, Sudan's de facto ruler, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, appealed to Ukraine for assistance in the summer of 2023 while besieged by rebel forces.

The civil war in the African country between Burhan's military government and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitary broke out in April 2023. Over 13,000 people have been killed and over 6 million people have become internally displaced in Sudan, according to International Rescue Committee.

Kyiv has not publicly confirmed involvement in the conflict in Sudan. "We emphasize that Ukraine and its Defense Forces continue to act exclusively within the framework of international law and the UN Charter," HUR said.

Ukraine has "nothing to do with any illegal actions related to illegal arms trafficking," HUR added.

Opinion: A Russian victory in Ukraine would be bad for Africans
Nineteen-thirty-eight is an apposite metaphor for 2024, of a world poised on the brink of a devastating war. The pieces are all there: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, tensions across the Taiwan Strait, the U.S. increasingly divided and isolated, the Middle East divided along sectarian and tribal lines…
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