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Zelensky discusses Russia-backed groups with Sudan's leader during unplanned meeting

by Alexander Khrebet September 23, 2023 4:54 PM 2 min read
President Volodymyr Zelensky and Defense Minister Rustem Umerov meet Chairman of the Transitional Sovereignty Council of Sudan Abdel Fattah al-Burhan in Ireland on Sept. 23, 2023. (Volodymyr Zelensky/Telegram)
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President Volodymyr Zelensky said he had an “unplanned meeting” with Sudan’s Sovereign Council Chairman Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, an army general and de-facto ruler of the African country, on Sept. 23.

The meeting took place at the Shannon Airport in Ireland.

A photo posted by Zelensky on Telegram showed him, Ukraine’s Defense Minister Rustem Umerov, al-Burhan, and a Sudanese delegation during the discussion.

Zelensky said that the leaders had discussed security, including the activities of the Russia-backed armed militia in Sudan.

The announcement comes after a reported Ukrainian attack against Russian Wagner-backed militia in Sudan.

Ukrainian special services may have been responsible for a military operation involving a series of drone strikes and a ground operation against a Wagner-backed militia in Sudan, according to a CNN investigation published on Sept. 19.

The attacks targeted the Wagner-backed militia Rapid Support Forces (RSF), which has been fighting al-Burhan’s Sudanese army for control of the country since April.

The Wagner Group's involvement in African countries, including Sudan, has been linked to the Russian government's efforts to finance its war in Ukraine.

CNN's investigation did not find conclusive proof that Ukraine was behind the operation but did obtain video footage showing "the hallmarks of Ukrainian-style drone attacks."

Experts consulted in the investigation also told CNN that the tactics used in the strikes reflect Ukrainian military patterns.

A top-ranking Sudanese military official told CNN he had "no knowledge of a Ukrainian operation in Sudan."

Ukraine has not claimed responsibility for the operation in Sudan.

However, Ukraine's military intelligence (HUR) spokesperson Andrii Yusov said following the report on Sept. 20, citing HUR's chief Kyrylo Budanov, that "Ukraine will eliminate Russian war criminals wherever they may be in the world."

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