What is Ukraine Doing in Africa

They are saving Europe from Europe

Shankar Narayan
8 min readMar 2, 2024

After ten years of war that began in Donbas, extended to Crimea, and escalated with a direct attack on Kyiv in 2022, Russia now occupies 111,900 square kilometers of Ukrainian territory. Russia has lost 413,760 troops, paying five Russian lives for every square kilometer gained.


That ratio is going to keep increasing, and if the Russians get booted out of Ukraine, which is more likely than not, they are on course to set the world record for losing so many lives in pursuit of a bridge to nowhere.

A Russian women who attended Alexei Navlany’s funeral said: one man sacrificed his life for the country and another one sacrificed the country for his.

How poignant.

But direct war is not the only thing that Putin does. There are plenty of other actions he takes. And no one in the entire world, including the Europeans, understand how to stop Putin like Ukrainians do.

Some time in September last year, more than two dozen drones blew up seven targets linked to Rapid support forces operating near Sudan’s capital. This group is backed by Wagner forces.

But drones?

In Sudan.

And every single one of them moving towards the target with alarming precision.

That was not something Africa has been accustomed to. Upon closer inspection, it became clear that someone who is extremely well-versed in drone operations is targeting the African mercenaries backed by Russian forces.

It was Ukrainian special forces.

Not that the Ukrainian Special Forces wanted to keep their operations hidden. The strikes, the videos would have never seen the light of day if Kyrylo Budanov, the Ukrainian spy chief, had wanted to keep those details secret. They shot it, they published the video, and they informed the world and the Russians that they were going to disrupt their operations in Africa.


This is something the Europeans should have done a very long time ago. They are still not doing it, and most probably they will never realize how important it is to evict the Russians from Africa.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has made three trips to the continent in the last year, visiting more than 10 countries.

“Russia is trying very hard to keep countries in its orbit through coercion, bribery and fear… Russia has two tools for its work in Africa, the most powerful ones are propaganda and Wagner,” Kuleba said in a recent interview with Agence France-Presse.

“Our strategy is not to replace Russia but to free Africa from Russia’s grip,” he added.


Why on earth would Ukraine spend valuable resources, things they are so short of, in far-off lands? Why not just keep them all in Ukraine?

Because they inherently understand what Putin is trying to do. Putin has a three-pronged strategy to break up Europe.

  1. Destabilize Africa, making it unlivable, thus forcing migration. Control the migration corridor and facilitate migrant movement towards Europe. This is being accomplished by utilizing the Wagner Mercenaries.
  2. Destabilize Europe by fueling the right-wing movement through funding, identifying political leaders capable of carrying the torch, and aiding their rise. Arm them with the great replacement theory to turn the continent against migrants. Use the right-wing to exacerbate internal divisions and help them win elections to undermine democracy. Seek out figures akin to Donald Trump and Viktor Orbán. Establish dictatorships loyal to the Russian Czar.
  3. Destabilize Eastern Europe through direct attacks, nuclear threats, and encouragement of appeasement. Continue encroaching on the eastern border through gradual expansion.

The sad part is, this is not something that has started recently; it has been going on for years.

In February and March 2016, when the refugee crisis facing the European Union was still ongoing and vivid in the minds of European politicians as well as the public, US General Philip Breedlove, Head of NATO forces in Europe, accused Russia of working actively to exacerbate the refugee flows in an attempt to destabilize and destroy the EU. In a testimony in front of the House Armed Services Committee, he said, ‘Together, Russia and the Assad regime are deliberately weaponizing migration from Syria. In an attempt to overwhelm European structures and break European resolve.’

General Breedlove explained further:

“I am seeing in Syria in places like Aleppo and others […] what I would call absolutely indiscriminate, unprecise bombing rubblizing (sic) major portions of a city. That do not appear to be — to me to be against any specific military target because the weapons they’re using have no capability of hitting specific targets.

They are unguided dumb weapons. And what I have seen in the Assad regime from the beginning when they started using barrel bombs which have absolutely no military utility. They are unguided and crude and what are they designed to do (sic) is terrorize the public and get them on the road. Later, Assad using chlorine gas and other chemical type approaches to these same barrel bombs. Again, almost zero military utility.

Designed to get people on the road and make them someone else’s problem. Get them on the road, make them a problem for Europe to bend Europe to the will of where they want them to be. And so I see a continuing pattern in Aleppo and other places of this indiscriminate use of military capability that all I can determine from it is the goal is to get more people on the road and make them a problem for someone else to bend the will of those being affected.”

Right there. It was all there. The head of NATO forces telling Europeans what is going on. How Putin is destabilizing Africa in order to destabilize Europe.

In…. 2016.

What did Europe do? Practically nothing. What did the Angela Merkel government in Germany do? Nothing. They bought cheap oil and gas. What did the French do? Nothing. What did Britain do? Nothing. What did the United States do? Nothing.

They may claim they’ve done this and that. But if that’s truly the case, then why does the Wagner mercenary group maintain such a significant presence in Africa?

The three West African states with close links to Wagner — Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso — have all experienced military takeovers in recent years. They have since announced their withdrawal from the regional bloc Ecowas, and the creation of their own “Alliance of Sahel States”.

Image on the left: Wagner mercenaries in Koundjili, Central African Republic, May 2019. Image on the right: Russian mercenaries standing guard near an armored vehicle in the Central African Republic

The death of Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of the Wagner forces, did not bring an end to Russian operations in Africa. Instead, the group was immediately brought under the control of Russian military intelligence.

None of the European nations were prepared to send their troops to Africa to eliminate these mercenaries. These are democracies, and every soldier’s death would face scrutiny back home. The right-wing will protest against migrants replacing their “nativeness,” but they would vehemently oppose the death of their country’s soldiers in a foreign conflict. Isn’t that the essence of the MAGA-Republican pitch? Or should I say, the core of the Kremlin’s-MAGA-Republican pitch?

Why should we fight for some one else?

Ukraine could have chosen to be selfish. They are lacking in so many resources. They should have taken all the European aid, taken care of their fight, and let Europe handle its migration problem on its own. Isn’t that how certain European nations behave? However, they did not act shortsightedly. They understand the significance of safeguarding the European structure, which cannot be achieved as long as Russia continues to destabilize Africa.

If you want to win against Putin, you have to meet the Russian army wherever it is. They are deployed outside Russia for a reason, and that reason is to harm Europe.

Take the exploding migrant crisis in the United Kingdom, for example. Is it a simple coincidence that the flow of migrants to Britain peaked right after Putin invaded Ukraine?

Putin wants headlines like this. He wants his right wing friends in the Western world to run around with this banner.

Screenshot from Reuters

Britain is one of the nations leading the charge in assisting Ukraine. And suddenly, out of nowhere, migration hits record high in 2022.

45,755, migrants cross the English channel in boats in 2022, “the highest since figures began to be collected in 2018”.

Not just in Britain, migration numbers have remained at all-time highs across Europe since Putin invaded Ukraine. “Frontex, the EU’s border police agency, said that there were 380,000 irregular border crossings in 2023, the highest amount since 2016. Of these, more than 62,000 attempted to enter Britain, it added”.

The Telegraph reported two days ago that is “has seen intelligence documents detailing Russian plans for agents to set up a ‘15,000-man strong border police force’ made up of former militias in Libya to funnel migrants towards Europe.

The plans fell through as payments made via the ‘Russian-Libyan cultural institute’ in Moscow never happened, although it is believed to be a taste of what could happen”.

By employing private mercenaries, Russia stokes violence in unstable nations such as Burkina Faso, Mali, Sudan, the Central African Republic, and Libya.

In Syria, they have a direct presence.

Make these countries unlivable and drive the Africans to Europe. How many Syrians escaped Putin’s army and ran to Europe? UNHCR says “European countries host over 1 million Syrian asylum-seekers and refugees”. What is the cost burden borne by Europe? What is the political impact?

Africa remains a core part of Putin’s plan to tear apart Europe. Migration becomes a flashpoint in European politics, allowing the right wing to take a strong anti-migration stance, while the left takes the opposite side. This divisive dynamic pits people against each other and also increases the financial strain on the nation.

What is the core issue in the United States Presidential election in 2024?

Border crisis…. Migrants…


Or Putin’s global destabilization strategy on a overdrive. He does not want the Western world to govern effectively; that is his plan. Migrants are a core element of that plan, with Wagner mercenaries serving as facilitators.

Russian forces must be countered wherever they are found. They must be evicted from Africa. None of the Western powers will undertake this daunting task. Ukraine could have chosen to be shortsighted and selfish, but they did not. They are not fighting in Africa out of a desire for revenge. If that were their goal, they could have dispatched their special forces inside Russia. They are fighting in Africa because they understand what their enemy is attempting to achieve.

For God’s sake, Europe, understand what Ukraine is doing. German Chancellor Scholz is saying he will not send Taurus missiles to Ukraine because he would then have to send German troops to Ukraine. Meanwhile, Ukraine is sending its sons to Africa to prevent migrants from flooding Berlin and straining their fellow European nations.

Doesn’t the Chancellor get his daily dose of counter-intelligence briefings?

The way Western media covers the war against Ukraine has gone off-track. As a result, I have decided to make my Ukraine stories public, without placing them behind the paywall.




Shankar Narayan

He didn't care what he had or what he had left, he cared only about what he must do.