Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has insisted that Sudan is within its rights to employ Russian Private Military Company (PMC) Wagner (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, 26 April). His comments follow reports that Wagner is supplying Sudan’s Rapid Support Force (RSF) with surface-to-air missiles (see Threatologist Eurasia: 27 April 2023).
Lavrov was speaking at a United Nations press conference, where he was asked about developments in Sudan and whether Wagner was subordinate “to the Russian government or another body.” In response, Lavrov emphasised the private part of PMC and spoke about how Mali and the Central African Republic had also felt compelled to use Wagner’s services so as to not be left “defenceless” in the face of France’s diminished involvement in the region. Lavrov insisted: “The Central African Republic, Mali, Sudan and several other countries, where governments and legitimate authorities requested such services, are fully in their right to do this.” He blamed the United States for instability in Sudan, claiming that the logical conclusion was to allow Sudan to choose its own path, without external interference.
Lavrov also drew parallels with PMCs in other countries, implying Wagner was no different: “If you feel concerned about this, look up online the number of private military companies that exist in the United States, Britain and France. There are dozens of them, and many of them have been working for years right on our border, including in Ukraine. This is suggestive as well.”