France admits deaths of its citizens in Ukraine
Two French nationals were killed and three others injured this week in Ukraine, the French government claimed on Friday. Paris insists they were humanitarian workers.
The announcement was made by French Foreign Minister Stephane Sejourne, who claimed the incident is an example of “Russian barbarity.”
“Two French humanitarian workers paid with their lives for their commitment to the Ukrainians. Three were injured,” Sejourne wrote on social media platform X (formerly Twitter).
A similar message came from French President Emmanuel Macron, who said “volunteers” had been killed in a Russian strike. He condemned the attack as a “cowardly and unworthy act.”
While the French government did not reveal any further details of the affair, the strike that killed its citizens apparently took place earlier this week in Kherson. According to Aleksandr Prokudin, the head of the Ukrainian-controlled part of the Russian region, a number of French “volunteers” were hit in Berislav, a town located some 70km east of Kherson city.
Days previously, Russia claimed a high-precision strike “on the temporary assembly point of foreign fighters,” in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkov killed over 60 French mercenaries and injured some 20 more.
In the wake of the attack, Paris officially denied having any mercenaries fighting for Ukraine. At the same time, Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu insisted that France, being a “democratic country,” could not actually forbid its citizens from voluntarily joining Kiev’s ranks, should they desire to do so.
According to Moscow’s latest estimates, more than 5,900 foreign mercenaries have been killed in Ukraine since the start of the conflict in February 2022.