Russia–Sudan relations

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Russian–Sudanese relations
Map indicating locations of Sudan and Russia



Russia–Sudan relations (Russian: Российско-суданские отношения) refers to the bilateral relations between Russia and Sudan. Russia has an embassy in Khartoum and Sudan has an embassy in Moscow.


For decades, Russia and Sudan have maintained a strong economic and politically strategic partnership. Due to solidarity with both the United States and with the Soviet Union and with the allies of the two nations, Sudan declared neutrality and instead chose membership in the Non-Aligned Movement throughout the Cold War. In 1967, in response to US support for Israel, Sudan severed relations with U.S.A. By 1970, 2000 advisors from Soviet Union and its satellites were present in Sudan. After the 1969 Sudanese coup d'état, the new government increased economic relations with the Soviet bloc, and in 1971, Soviet Union became the leading importer of Sudanese goods.[1] Soviet-Sudanese relations were minorly damaged when, in 1971 members of the Sudanese Communist Party attempted to assassinate then-president Gaafar Nimeiry, and Nimeiry pegged the blame on the USSR, thus enhancing Sudanese relations with the West. In 1977, in response to large scale Soviet aid to Ethiopia, Sudan expelled Soviet advisors and closed the military section in the Soviet embassy. The relations were damaged again when Sudan supported the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan when the USSR invaded in 1979. Sudan began to buy weapons from Egypt and China, instead of USSR. In 1985, Nimeiry was overthrown in a military coup, and the new government improved relations with USSR. Diplomatic cooperation between the two countries dramatically got back on track during the late 1990s and early 2000s, when Vladimir Putin was elected the President, and then the Prime Minister of Russia, and along with Chinese leader Hu Jintao opposed UN Peacekeepers in Darfur. Russia strongly supports Sudan's territorial integrity and opposes the creation of an independent Darfurian state. Also, Russia is Sudan's strongest investment partner (in Europe) and political ally in Europe, and Russia has repeatedly and significantly regarded Sudan as an important global ally in the African continent. For decades there have been Sudanese college students studying in Russian universities.[2]

During the 2008 attack on Omdurman and Khartoum, Justice and Equality Movement rebels from Darfur killed a Russian mercenary pilot by shooting his plane down when he tried to strafe them.[3][4]

Amnesty International slammed Russia for breaking the UN arms embargo on Darfur, Russians sold weapons like Mi-24 helicopters, Antonov 26 planes, Russian weapons sales to Sudan totaled 21 million dollars. It was reported these weapons were used to slaughter Darfur civilians. The report said Russia "cannot have been unaware of reports of serious violations of human rights and humanitarian law by the Sudanese security forces, But they have nevertheless continued to allow military equipment to be sent to Sudan." Russia was reported to "have been or should have been aware, several types of military equipment, including aircraft, have been deployed by the Sudanese armed forces for direct attacks on civilians and indiscriminate attacks in Darfur". The Janjaweed also used Russian small arms to murder and loot, these Russian weapons spread into neighboring Chad. In 2005 helicopters from Russia were sold to Sudan for 7 million pounds sterling. Photos show Russian helicopters in Darfur.[5][6][7]

On August 25, 2017, the Russian ambassador to Sudan, Mirgayas Shirinsky, was found dead in his house in Khartoum.[8]

In November 2017, President Omar al-Bashir credited Russian military intervention in the Syrian Civil War for saving Syria.[9] Sudan is among the few countries that officially recognized the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation and voted against United Nations General Assembly Resolution 68/262 (which condemned Russian annexation of Ukrainian territory),[10] which demonstrated the close relations between Russia and Sudan.


SIPRI reports that only 8 percent of Sudanese arms are Chinese, and that Russian arms actually make up the majority, at 87 percent. Russia is the major weapons supplier to the Sudan.[11]

In 2019, Sudan and Russia signed an agreement, which reportedly gives Russian Navy access to Sudanese ports. In November 2020, Vladimir Putin announced that the Russian Navy would proceed with building a base capable of hosting 300 personnel and four warships on Sudan's Red Sea coast.[12] In December 2020, the agreement to build the base was signed, giving Russia a naval base in Port Sudan for at least 25 years. This was compared to Russia's naval base in Tartus, Syria.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Soviet Union and Sudan". Retrieved 2020-09-06.
  2. ^ Andrei Fedyashin (9 January 2011). "Sudan's impending split". RIA Novosti. Retrieved January 11, 2011.
  3. ^ Wasil Ali (28 May 2008). "Radio station says Russian pilot killed in Sudan during rebel assault". Sudan Tribune. Retrieved January 11, 2011.
  4. ^ James Dunnigan (21 June 2008). "Russian Mercenaries Over Africa". Retrieved January 11, 2011.
  5. ^ Nora Boustany (24 August 2007). "New Photos Indicate Arms Flow to Darfur". The Washington Post. Retrieved March 9, 2011.
  6. ^ "China, Russia deny weapons breach". BBC. 8 May 2007. Retrieved March 9, 2011.
  7. ^ David Blair (9 May 2007). "Russia and China 'break Darfur arms embargo'". The Telegraph. Retrieved March 9, 2011.
  8. ^ "Посла России в Судане нашли мертвым". Novaya Gazeta. Al-Arabiya. 23 August 2017. Retrieved 23 August 2017.
  9. ^ "Russia Takes its Syrian Model of Counterinsurgency to Africa". RUSI. 2020-09-09. Retrieved 2020-09-16.
  10. ^ Charbonneau, Louis; Donath, Mirjam (March 27, 2014). "U.N. General Assembly declares Crimea secession vote invalid". Reuters. Retrieved January 20, 2021.
  11. ^ Andrew McGregor (12 February 2009). "Russia's Arms Sales to Sudan a First Step in Return to Africa: Part Two". Eurasia Daily Monitor Volume: 6 Issue: 29. Retrieved January 30, 2011.
  12. ^ Foy, Henry; Schipani, Andres (November 16, 2020). "Russia to build naval base in Sudan". The Financial Times. Archived from the original on November 20, 2020. Retrieved November 20, 2020. Russia will build a naval base on Sudan’s Red Sea coast, its first in Africa, as the Kremlin seeks to expand its global military footprint and cement its burgeoning trade and defence ties with the continent. The Russian navy has been directed to proceed with plans to construct a base for 300 personnel and space for up to four warships, including nuclear-powered vessels, according to an order signed by president Vladimir Putin on Monday.
  13. ^ "Russia to establish navy base in Sudan for at least 25 years". AP NEWS. 2020-12-08. Retrieved 2021-03-28.

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