Russian envoy meets Sudan’s army commander in show of support

By Thomson Reuters Apr 29, 2024 | 1:29 PM

(Reuters) – Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov visited Sudan on Monday in a signal of support for the Sudanese army which is locked in a year-long war with the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

Bogdanov, also a special representative for the Middle East and Africa, met Sudanese army commander Abdel Fattah al-Burhan in the Red Sea City of Port Sudan, a base for the army and government officials since the RSF took over large parts of the capital Khartoum early in the conflict.

Bogdanov said his visit could lead to increased cooperation and expressed support for “the existing legitimacy in the country represented by the Sovereign Council”, according to a statement from the council, which is headed by Burhan.

There has been uncertainty around Russia’s allegiances in Sudan due to its ties with RSF commander Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, known as Hemedti, who visited Moscow on the eve of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

The same year, Western diplomats in Khartoum said Russian private military group Wagner was involved in illicit gold mining in Sudan and was spreading disinformation. Wagner said last year that it was no longer operating in Sudan.

Russia, which has previously shown interest in a naval base on Sudan’s Red Sea coast, began deliveries of diesel to Sudan earlier this month, according to LSEG data.

(Reporting by Jaidaa Ahmad; writing by Aidan Lewis; editing by Jonathan Oatis)