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14 Mar, 2024 16:00

Moscow estimates number of foreign mercenaries killed in Ukraine

More than 13,000 foreigners have taken part in the hostilities on Kiev’s side, nearly 6,000 of whom are now dead, according to the Russian Defense Ministry
Moscow estimates number of foreign mercenaries killed in Ukraine

The Russian Defense Ministry has released an update on the number of foreign mercenaries killed fighting for Ukraine since February 2022.

At least 13,387 foreign mercenaries have traveled to Ukraine to fight for Kiev, according to figures released by the ministry, with some 5,962 of these confirmed killed.

Ukraine’s western neighbor, Poland, which has been one of the strongest supporters of Kiev during the conflict, has provided by far the largest number of mercenaries, with 2,960, the ministry data shows. More than a half of these, some 1,497 Polish nationals, have been killed during the hostilities.

The US, Kiev’s main sponsor and donor of military aid, has provided some 1,113 mercenaries. At least 491 of these have been killed, according to Russian military estimates.

Third on the list is Georgia, which has provided some 1,042 mercenaries, at least 561 of whom have been killed. While the Caucasus nation has taken a neutral stance on the conflict, repeatedly rejecting Kiev’s calls to open a “second front” against Russia, local hardline nationalists have actively participated in the hostilities.

Georgia is closely followed by Canada, which has provided 1,005 identified mercenaries, at least 491 of whom have died. Canada has a large Ukrainian community, mostly originating from the post-WWII era, when Ukrainian Nazi collaborators fled to the country en masse, escaping persecution by the Soviet Union.

The UK, Romania, Croatia and France have also contributed significant numbers of mercenaries. Despite Paris declaring support for Kiev, only some 356 French nationals have opted to fight for it, with around 147 of these getting killed, according to Russian estimates.

French mercenaries are believed to have sustained heavy casualties in mid-January, when a “temporary assembly point of foreign fighters” was hit by a Russian high-precision strike in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkov. The attack killed more than 60 foreigners, predominantly French nationals, the Russian military said at the time.