Foreign mercenaries shot allied Ukrainian troops – Moscow
A lack of competence among Ukrainian forces, including foreigners recruited to fight for Kiev, has resulted in at least two known cases of friendly fire, the Russian military claimed on Tuesday.
In one reported mix-up, recruits arriving at the position of the 97th battalion of the 60th infantry brigade of the Ukrainian Armed Forces were shelled by the same people they were supposed to be joining.
Another incident occurred with soldiers of the 28th mechanized brigade, the Russian Defense Ministry claimed. A recon team of that unit was attacked by foreign mercenaries, who killed four troops and injured three others, the ministry said in a daily briefing.
The report did not offer further details about when and where the alleged accidents happened.
Accounts of friendly fire incidents have also come from Western fighters. Last week, a Rolling Stone story about US war veterans killed or captured in Ukraine mentioned instances like these, among other issues that foreign combatants regularly experience there.
“We had a two-hour firefight that later turned out to be against Ukrainian special forces. It is unbelievable what goes on here,” Tristan Nettles, a member of an English-speaking squad fighting in Ukraine, told the magazine.
“Bridges blown up while friendly forces are still on the other side, no communication between units, friendly fire all the time,” he said regarding the situation on the battlefield.
Russia attacked Ukraine in late February, following Kiev’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German- and French-brokered protocols were designed to give the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.
The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.