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18 Jan, 2024 17:57

Foreign mercenaries primarily used by Kiev for ‘media purposes’ – journalist

The presence of the fighters is also used to justify Ukraine’s ever-growing demand for Western weaponry, Christelle Neant has said
Foreign mercenaries primarily used by Kiev for ‘media purposes’ – journalist

Ukraine has been using foreign mercenaries for a long time, and many of those fighters follow a neo-Nazi ideology, Donbass Insider editor-in-chief Christelle Neant told RT on Thursday.

Neant spoke about a Russian missile strike on the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkov earlier this week which Moscow claimed killed more than 60 foreigners, predominantly French nationals. The ministry described the target as a “temporary assembly point of foreign fighters.” The Ukrainian side, however, has challenged those claims, providing a handful of conflicting accounts of the incident.

The casualties among French nationals have been corroborated independently, Neant said, citing Ukrainian domestic intelligence sources which indicated that “many wounded French-speaking individuals were admitted to hospitals.”

“I think Ukraine primarily uses foreign mercenaries for media purposes and to have the ability to request more and more weapons. Where did these mercenaries come from? They are instructors who teach Ukrainian soldiers how to handle NATO weapons coming from Western countries,” she said.

Active use of foreign mercenaries within the military is nothing new for Ukraine, with the practice dating back to the early stages of the conflict in then Ukrainian Donbass, which erupted in the aftermath of the 2014 Maidan coup, according to Neant. She believes many of the foreigners are neo-Nazis, with their service in Ukraine likely set to become an issue for the West itself in the long-term.

“The West turns a blind eye to the fact that some of these mercenaries adhere to neo-Nazi or strongly-nationalist views. And that is a serious problem, because these people can later return to their home country with acquired combat experience and, possibly, imported weapons,” Neant explained.