‘Unthinkable’ number of mercenaries gathered in Zaporozhye – authorities
Ukraine has amassed a sizeable amount of foreign fighters on the frontline in Zaporozhye Region, which recently voted to join Russia, Vladimir Rogov, a member of the local administration’s chief council, told RIA Novosti on Sunday.
“The Kiev regime has accumulated an unthinkable number of mercenaries on the line of contact. We know about representatives from more than 30 different countries,” Rogov said.
He went on to say that Ukraine has been deploying to the area both mercenaries and troops from the western part of the country in order to instill terror in local residents who voted in the recent referendums.
In late September, Zaporozhye, along with Kherson Region and the two Donbass republics, voted overwhelmingly in referendums to join Russia. On Wednesday, President Vladimir Putin signed into law unification treaties with the former Ukrainian territories, officially making them part of Russia.
Zaporozhye Region is also home to a nuclear power plant, which has been under Russian control since March. It has been repeatedly shelled throughout the conflict. Moscow has accused Ukraine of attacking the facility, while Kiev blames the Russian forces.
Russia has on numerous occasions conducted strikes on foreign fighters in Ukraine, including with high-precision weapons. Moscow has also warned that the best thing mercenaries from other countries can expect in Ukraine is a “long term in prison.”
On September 21, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu claimed that Russian forces and the militias of the Donbass republics had eliminated more than 2,000 mercenaries, with 1,000 foreign fighters remaining in the ranks of the Ukrainian military.