Ukraine special forces capture Russian mercenaries in Sudan

Sources tell The National that Kyiv's troops have been used in African country to target Wagner Group operators

A still from the video released by the Kyiv Post, in which a mercenary states in Russian that he is from the Wagner organisation.
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Ukrainian special forces are conducting operations against Russian mercenaries in Africa, security sources have confirmed to The National.

It is understood that specialist operators have flown from Kyiv for secret missions in Sudan that have ended in the deaths of soldiers from the Wagner Group.

A video released by the Kyiv Post, sourced from Ukraine military intelligence, shows a captured Russian prisoner being interrogated alongside two African soldiers.

All three are dressed in only their combat trousers with their hands bound, blindfolded and kneeling in a shallow trench while being questioned by an alleged Ukrainian in combat fatigues in a voice that is disguised.

Around them are dead bodies and equipment of other mercenaries somewhere in the bush in Sudan.

A mercenary states in Russian that he is from “PMC [private military company] Wagner” and arrived in Sudan with 100 other fighters from the Central African Republic with a mission to “to overthrow the local government”.

The two fighters say they were paid $1,000 each for the operation.

The video also shows alleged Ukrainians in combat fatigues using night vision goggles carrying specialist assault rifles and a soldier with the blue and gold Ukraine insignia on his shoulder.

The footage appears to support claims that Russian mercenaries are being used to support Sudan’s Rapid Support Forces (RSF) who are making significant gains against the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) in the year-long civil war.

A military source closely connected to Ukrainian special forces told The National that it was not the first time its troops had operated abroad.

“A short while ago there was another mission when some blokes jumped on a plane and basically got rid of some Wagner guys in Africa and then flew back,” he said. “But the stuff they do out there they keep on very close hold.”

Tal Hagin, a leading open source intelligence analyst, said he believed the reports were legitimate as the Kyiv Post had previously had access to interview Russian POWs.

Video - Thomas Harding explained in 2023 the Wagner Group's influence in Africa

Wagner's influence in Africa

Wagner's influence in Africa

“This is an exclusive right that not many are privy to and tells me [the Kyiv Post] have exclusive access and good relations with the Ukrainian military.”

He added that video appeared authentic and the “interactions appear natural and not rehearsed”

“Given that Wagner wear their insignia on operations this further strengths the video’s authenticity,” he said.

However, a British security source said with the risks of detection or serious injury, he would “question the value of what Ukraine special forces are doing in Sudan”, but this “did not preclude that they are or have operated there”. “But there’s a lot more they could do in Ukraine that would actually help win the war,” he added.

There is a suggestion that Ukraine is expanding its fight against Russia beyond its borders to bring further pressure onto Moscow.

A variant of Ukrainian suicide drones, small quad-copters with a RPG warhead attached, are reported to have been used against the RSF.

Five months ago President Volodymyr Zelenskyy met Abdel Fattah Al Burhan, Sudan’s de facto leader and head of the army, at an airport in Ireland.

“We discussed our common security challenges, namely the activities of illegal armed groups financed by Russia,” President Zelenskyy said at the time.

Updated: February 07, 2024, 4:31 PM