Putin wants foreign volunteers to join Russia in the fight against Ukraine

Vladimir Putin

Foreign volunteers are needed to battle the Ukrainian military, according to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

He said people who wished to volunteer to fight for the Russia-backed forces should be permitted to do so at a Russian security council meeting.

Sergei Shoigu, Russia’s defence minister, claimed 16,000 volunteers were ready to fight with Russia-backed forces.

US officials as reported by BBC said these could include Syrians skilled in urban combat.

Syria has long been a Russian ally, and Russian President Vladimir Putin has been a vocal supporter of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during the country’s civil conflict.

Russian president, Mr Putin told his defence minister that “If you see that there are these people who want of their own accord, not for money, to come to help the people living in Donbas, then we need to give them what they want and help them get to the conflict zone”

The defence Minister Mr Shoigu also recommended transferring captured Western anti-tank missile systems to Russian-backed rebel militants in the Donbas region’s separatist Ukrainian republics of Luhansk and Donetsk.

Meanwhile, in a video message, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stated “thugs from Syria” would be coming to kill people “in a distant territory.”

Foreign warriors, including past and present members of the British army, have been arriving in Ukraine to fight for Kyiv’s administration.

Already, Mr Zelensky revealed that 16,000 foreigners had enlisted for the cause, becoming an “international legion,” as he puts it.

An analyst with the US-based Middle East Institute, Charles Lister had also questioned how useful any Syrian forces would be to the Russian president, Mr Putin.

“If [President] Assad’s regime begins sending troops to Ukraine, they’ll be no more than cannon fodder in a battle and environment that’s completely alien to them,” he wrote on Twitter.

He went on to say that there was no proof of any actual recruiting of Syrians.

The decision to have a televised security council meeting came as Russian soldiers in Ukraine began striking fresh sites across the country:

In Lutsk, in the northwest, an airstrip and a jet engine factory were targeted.

According to Russian defence sources, explosions also hit airfields at Ivano-Frankivsk, in the southwest. One person was killed in airstrikes in Dnipro, a significant bastion in central-eastern Ukraine.

The war is forcing a rising number of people to escape the nation, with 2.5 million refugees currently registered.

According to the Wall Street Journal, US sources have told the publication that Russia has just begun recruiting soldiers from Syria in the hopes that their expertise in urban warfare will be useful.


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