Ukrainian special services were likely behind a series of drone strikes and a ground operation directed against a Wagner-backed militia near Sudan’s capital, a CNN investigation has found, raising the prospect that the fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has spread far from the front lines.
Speaking to CNN, a Ukrainian military source described the operation as the work of a “non-Sudanese military.” Pressed on whether Kyiv was behind the attacks, the source would only say that “Ukrainian special services were likely responsible.”
The operation involved a series of attacks on the paramilitary group Rapid Support Forces (RSF), which is believed to be receiving assistance from Wagner, the 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 attacks.
Two commercially available drones widely used by Ukrainians were involved in at least eight of the strikes, with Ukrainian text seen on the drone controller. Experts also said the tactics used — namely the pattern of drones swooping directly into their target — were highly unusual in Sudan and the wider African region.
Covert strikes by Ukraine in Sudan would mark a dramatic and provocative expansion of Kyiv’s theater of war against Moscow. Aside from a string of Ukrainian drone attacks that hit deep inside Russian territory, Ukraine’s ongoing counteroffensive has been focused on the country’s occupied east and south.
Ukraine has not officially claimed responsibility for the attacks, which were captured in the drone footage. Portions of those videos have been circulating on social media since Thursday. Footage of the ground operation has not previously been published.