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.
This paper is one of a series produced for the SIPRI Project on Monitoring Arms Flows to Africa and Assessing the Practical Regional and National Challenges and Possibilities for a Relevant and Functioning Arms Trade Treaty. The project is funded by the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs. The other background papers in the series are:
Israeli arms supplies to sub-Saharan Africa, Siemon T. Wezeman, October 2011
Arms transfers to Zimbabwe: implications for an arms trade treaty, Lukas Jeuck, March 2011
South African arms supplies to sub-Saharan Africa, Pieter D. Wezeman, January 2011
Arms flows and the conflict in Somalia, Pieter D. Wezeman, October 2010
The final report of the project is
Arms Flows to Sub-Saharan Africa, SIPRI Policy Paper no. 30, Pieter D. Wezeman, Siemon T. Wezeman and Lucie Béraud-Sudreau, December 2011
About the author
Paul Holtom (United Kingdom) is Director of the SIPRI Arms Transfers Programme. His area of research is monitoring and measuring international arms transfers, with a focus on the role of arms transfers in interstate relations. He has also carried out research projects on the effects of UN arms embargoes and reporting to the UN Register of Conventional Arms on international transfers of small arms and light weapons (SALW). He has authored or co-authored numerous publications on the arms trade and peace and security, with a particular focus on Russia, Eastern Europe and Central Asia.