Sudan touts growing ties with Russia during Moscow visit amid global condemnation of Ukraine invasion

Sudan’s Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo promoted his Russia trip on Twitter as the country seeks new support

Ahmed Aboudouh
Wednesday 02 March 2022 14:48
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<p>Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo - Sergey Lavrov meeting in Moscow</p>

Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo - Sergey Lavrov meeting in Moscow

At a time when many governments are condemning and punishing Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, Sudan’s second-in-command has been in Moscow to meet with the foreign minister and defense officials - all while sharing updates on Twitter and touting his country’s improving relations with the Kremlin.

General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, the deputy head of the military-led Sovereign Council, flew to Moscow on 23 February and continued his week-long visit despite the widespread international condemnation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

He flew back to Sudan on Wednesday following an extensive publicity blitz that included a meeting with Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov - who has warned that a third World War would be ‘nuclear and destructive’ as the conflict in Ukraine intensifies.

Sudan is in a dire financial situation and looking for new support from abroad. It is heavily dependent on foreign aid and investment but was largely cut off from both following a military coup in October involving Mr Dagalo and other military commanders against their civilian partners in government.

On Monday, Mr Dagalo, also known as Hemedti, met with Sudanese students in Russia and discussed “problems and obstacles” they encountered.

On Tuesday, he visited a Sudanese studies centre in a Russian university, where photos of his visit were disseminated on social media by the notorious Rapid Support Force (RSF), the paramilitary force he once led and now under his brother’s control. The RSF is believed to have committed war crimes against civilians during the Darfur civil war under former president Omar al-Bashir.

Sudan’s junta has not officially commented on the trip, with most information instead coming from Sudanese’s delegation posting updates on social media.

Russia, which is involved in Sudan’s gold sector, called for restraint after the October coup but did not issue a condemnation. Similarly, Sudan’s Sovereign Council on Monday called for dialogue to resolve the conflict in Ukraine, ignoring a request from the European Union to condemn Moscow.

Gebreil Ibrahim, Sudan’s finance minister who accompanied Mr Dagalo on his Russia trip, tweeted about a meeting with a deputy to the Russian finance minister to discuss “the problem of the Russian debt on Sudan”.

Analysts also believe that Mr Dagalo, who is looking after Sudan’s economy portfolio, aimed to gain publicity from the visit amid speculations that he may have ambitions to be Sudan’s leader.

He was accompanied on the trip by the country’s finance, energy, agriculture, and mining ministers, as well as the head of the Sudanese chambers of commerce, state news agency SUNA previously said.

After being battered by a massive wave of western economic sanctions amid the Ukraine invasion, it is unclear how Russia would be able to extend a helping hand to Sudan, or how the Sudanese delegation’s long visit would be fruitful for the country.

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