What Is Ukraine Doing in Africa?

Fighters ride in a vehicle moving in a military convoy accompanying the governor of Sudan’s Darfur State during a stopover in the eastern city of Gedaref while on the way to Port Sudan on August 30.
AFP via Getty Images

What Is Ukraine Doing in Africa?

Don’t ignore the chaos in Sudan.

Ukrainian soldiers were implicated in a series of attacks against Russian-backed forces, cnn reported on September 20. Footage obtained by cnn showed several drone strikes on vehicles, as well as a ground operation. The Ukrainian government is tight-lipped on details, but they hinted that Ukraine’s special forces were involved.

Stories like this have been filtering through the news cycle since Russia invaded Ukraine in February last year. But this one was unique because of its location. Far from Eastern Europe or Russian soldiers, the attacks were against Sudanese rebels in Sudan.


cnn didn’t elaborate on how they acquired the footage, but they confirmed with an anonymous source in the Ukrainian military that “Ukrainian special services were likely responsible.” Andrii Yusov, spokesman for the Defense Intelligence of Ukraine, would “neither confirm nor deny” Ukraine’s involvement in Sudan.

Drone attacks like this are rare in Africa but often used by Ukraine. Some of the footage shows a drone’s control device, which displays Ukrainian text. The type of drone has a range of only a few miles, so the operator was in Sudan. The attacks happened in Omdurman, across the river from Sudan’s capital, Khartoum.

This likely means Ukrainian soldiers are, or at least were, fighting on the ground in Sudan.

Since April, Sudan has been mired in a civil war between the government and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (rsf). Over 4 million Sudanese are internally displaced, and over 1 million have fled the country. The rsf are backed by the Wagner Group, a mercenary organization controlled by the Russian government, which is unconcerned with human rights abuses. The Sudanese government estimates the vast majority of the rsf’s weapons come from Wagner.

African warlords in Libya, Mali and the Central African Republic have used the Wagner Group to prop up their regimes, giving Russia gold and oil in return.

Wagner also accomplished a lot for Russia on the Ukrainian battlefield. It’s no surprise Ukraine would look for ways to poke at Wagner.

But spending time, resources and personnel fighting Wagner in Sudan is unusual. Sudan has been a quagmire of unrest since it gained independence. Even if the rsf ousts the Sudanese government, it’s unlikely to threaten Ukraine anytime soon. One would think Ukraine would focus on its own battlefields instead of getting involved in wars in Africa.

What is Ukraine doing in Africa? A handful of drone strikes won’t turn the tide of the war or distract Russia from the war back home.

An old adage states, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” By logical extension, the friend of my enemy is my enemy. Ukraine’s involvement in Sudan sends the message that it is willing to fight Russia in any theater of war. It sends the message that anybody helping or receiving help from Russia becomes a target.

Africa was one of the last places on Earth to be colonized by Europeans. In the late 19th century, Britain, France, Germany, Turkey, Italy and others fought for control of the “dark continent’s” resources. Since the end of the colonial era, Africa has had its fair share of wars and meddling from superpowers, but it hasn’t been the center of global conflict.

This is changing: Africa has once again become the world’s battleground. Whether it’s Turkey in Libya, France in Chad or Iran in Somalia, everybody wants something in Africa.

The Bible has a lot to say about wars in Africa and the powers involved in them. Daniel 11:40-43 reads:

And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over. … He shall stretch forth his hand also upon the countries: and the land of Egypt shall not escape. But he shall have power over the treasures of gold and of silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt: and the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall be at his steps.

The two main actors in this prophecy are “the king of the north,” a united European power, and “the king of the south,” an Islamist bloc led by Iran.

In The King of the South, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry writes:

Egypt will be conquered or controlled by the king of the north. This clearly implies that Egypt will be allied with the king of the south. …

The nations of Libya and Ethiopia are mentioned in Daniel 11:43, along with Egypt. … This verse shows that Libya and Ethiopia will also be closely allied with Iran!

Iran isn’t the biggest player in the Middle East—yet. But it is always looking to export its Islamic revolution. Muslim-majority North Africa is especially fertile territory.

Daniel 11:40 states Europe will counterattack Iran’s push with a “whirlwind.” Mr. Flurry continues, “If you are in a whirlwind, it whirls all around you. Even now, we can see that the German strategy is to surround Iran and its allies.”

This includes Iran’s allies in Africa. Europe will accomplish this by allying with other African states.

Other prophecies show Africa won’t be the main reason Europe and Iran clash. This coming war will revolve around the Middle East—specifically, control of Jerusalem. But even though Jerusalem will be the main concern, huge swaths of Africa will be sucked in. Africa will become a battleground because of a foreign conflict.

Ukraine’s attacks in Sudan show a microcosm of how this can happen. The Bible reveals that bigger wars are about to engulf the continent. But it also shows how to escape, and it gives a hope-filled conclusion to this time of trouble.

To learn more, read The King of the South.