NATO countries sending terrorist fighters to Ukraine, warns Russian Intelligence Service
NATO countries are sending terrorist fighters to Ukraine, Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service warned on Friday (local time).
According to the intelligence service, the terrorists, who are to be deployed to Donbass, were trained at the US-controlled Al-Tanf military base in Syria. Furthermore, the United States continues to form new terrorist units in the Middle East and Africa in order to send them to Ukraine via Poland, the agency pointed out.
The Russian Defence Ministry said on Thursday that US military intelligence was stepping up a campaign to recruit mercenaries for Ukraine. Around 200 Croatian mercenaries arrived in Ukraine via Poland last week, the Russian Defence Ministry's spokesman Igor Konashenkov said.
"US military intelligence has launched a large-scale propaganda campaign to recruit PMC [private military company] contractors to be sent to Ukraine. First of all, employees of the American PMCs Academi, Cubic, and Dyn Corporation are being recruited. [...] Only last week, about 200 mercenaries from Croatia arrived through Poland, who joined one of the nationalist battalions in the southeast of Ukraine".
He emphasised that foreign mercenaries in Ukraine cannot be considered prisoners of war (POW) if detained in line with international humanitarian law. When detained, they can expect criminal prosecution at best, Konashenkov said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned that nationalist and neo-Nazi formations, which include foreign mercenaries from the Middle East, are using civilians in Ukraine as human shields.
On 27 February, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced the creation of a foreign legion, the International Legion of Territorial Defence of Ukraine. Days later, the country's foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, claimed that more than a thousand mercenaries from 16 countries were headed to Ukraine.
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