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4 Mar, 2022 14:39

Germany downplays extremists traveling to fight in Ukraine

Berlin suggested potential combatants could have their passports confiscated to prevent them from leaving the country
Germany downplays extremists traveling to fight in Ukraine

The German Interior Ministry has sought to downplay suggestions that right-wing extremists are traveling from the European nation to fight in Ukraine, saying these are only isolated cases.

“Significantly fewer” extremists have traveled from Germany to Ukraine than the 10 individuals reported, an Interior Ministry spokesperson said on Friday. They did not, however, specify how many confirmed cases there had been.

In a bid to prevent right-wing extremists from traveling to engage in combat operations in Ukraine, the spokesperson confirmed Germany is looking at ways to halt them, including taking away their passports.

As it stands, German law does not bar Ukrainian nationals or Germans Ukrainians from traveling to the country to fight against Russian forces amid the ongoing invasion.

The statement from Berlin comes after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said 16,000 foreign citizens have volunteered to fight against Russia, joining “the defense of Ukraine, Europe and the world” as part of an “international legion.”

Kiev has temporarily dropped visa requirements for any foreign citizen who wishes to travel to war-torn parts of the country and fight against approaching Russian forces.

Foreign citizens have supported Ukrainian forces since 2014, when separatists seized parts of the Donbass region in the east. Russia recognized the breakaway Donetsk and Lugansk republics as independent states just days before beginning its military offensive last week.