According to reports, dozens of French nationals have joined the Ukrainian army during the Russian offensive
A French fighter who joined the Ukrainian forces amid Moscow’s military offensive in Ukraine has been killed in Kharkov Region, the radio station Europe 1 reported on Friday .
According to the radio station’s sources, the fighter was “Mortally wounded in artillery firing.”
“He is the first French fighter to be killed” since the beginning of the Russian offensive, Europe 1 claimed.
The outlet specified that, according to multiple sources, about 150 French fighters are taking part in the conflict in Ukraine on Kiev’s side.
The news came the day after Russia’s military spokesman, Major General Igor Konashenkov, claimed that the number of foreign fighters in Ukraine, whom he described as “mercenaries,” had decreased from 6,600 to 3,500. Konashenkov specified that hundreds of foreign mercenaries in Ukraine were destroyed by Russian long-range precision weapons “Soon after arriving, they arrived at their tactical unit coordination sites and continued training.” However, most of the mercenaries, according to the spokesman, were killed “Because of the low training level and lack of combat experience.”
Therefore, Konashenkov claimed, since the beginning of May, “the flow of foreign mercenaries to Ukraine to participate in hostilities against the Russian armed forces has virtually dried up.”
In March, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu suggested giving the green light to foreign fighters who want to go to Ukraine and join the forces of the Russia-backed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. Shoigu claims that around 16,000 foreigners joined the fight. Many of them are Middle Easterners who have been trained in combating jihadists. Russian President Vladimir Putin supported the idea, noting that Russia’s adversaries in Ukraine have been recruiting foreign volunteers.
Russia attacked the neighboring state in late February, following Ukraine’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. French and German protocols were created to grant the regions that had broken away special status in the Ukrainian government.
In recent years, the Kremlin demands that Ukraine declares itself to be neutral so that it can join NATO. Kiev claims that the Russian invasion was unprovoked. It also denies any plans to take the republics with force.
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