Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 12/2011

Ukrainian arms supplies to sub-Saharan Africa

paul holtom

February 2011

Stockholm International Peace Research Institute


Ukraine has consistently been among the 10 largest arms exporters in the world during the past two decades. An estimated 18 per cent of Ukrainian arms exports during 2005–2009 were for recipients in sub-Saharan Africa, specifically to Kenya (or Southern Sudan), Chad, Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Ukraine has supplied surplus aircraft, tanks, armoured vehicles, artillery, SALW and ammunition to armed forces in sub-Saharan Africa. Additionally, Ukrainian companies and individuals have supplied other services related to arms transfers and participated in combat missions for African armed forces. Concerns have been raised in recent years regarding Ukrainian arms exports to Africa. Ukrainian-supplied arms have been used by government forces against armed groups in Chad, the DRC and Equatorial Guinea in recent years, with Ukraine continuing deliveries to Chad and the DRC. Ukrainian, Kenyan and Southern Sudanese officials deny that Ukrainian deliveries of tanks, artillery and ammunition to Kenya have been re-exported to Southern Sudan, despite evidence to the contrary.