Putin allows 'volunteers from Middle East' to join Russian troops in Ukraine
Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to allow volunteers from the Middle East, primarily from Syria, to join Russian military operation in Ukraine, RIA Novosti reports citing Putin’s speech at a meeting of the Security Council.
The proposal was initially made during the meeting by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. According to him, the Russian Defense Ministry receives many applications from people from different countries asking for a permission to participate in the so-called "liberation movement". According to Shoigu, more than 16 thousand people from the Middle East expressed such a desire.
Shoigu also proposed to transfer to the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics “Western-made military equipment”, including tanks and firearms.
In response, Putin noted that the "Western sponsors of the Ukrainian regime" do not hide that they use mercenary forces in the fight against the Russian army. And this, according to Putin, violates the norms of international law.
"Therefore, if you see that there are people who want to come on a voluntary basis, especially not for money, and provide assistance to people living in the Donbas, you need to accommodate them and help them move to the combat zone," Putin said. – “As for the supply of weapons, especially of Western production, which had been captured by the Russian ardemy, of course, I support the possibility of transferring them to the military units of the Luhansk and Donetsk People's Republics."
On March 6, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing sources among US officials, that the Russian authorities are trying to recruit Syrian mercenaries, who know how to conduct urban military operations. The Wall Street Journal noted that Moscow hopes with the help of these mercenaries to deliver a "crushing blow to the Ukrainian government." One of the officials also noted that some fighters have already arrived in Russia and are preparing to join the Russian troops in Ukraine.
According to the news outlet Deir Ezzor 24, Russia offers volunteers from Syria a reward of $200 to $300 for six months of service.
Hostilities in Ukraine have been going on for more than two weeks since February 24. Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the Russian army to invade the territory of the neighboring state. At the same time, according to the decree issued by the Russian authorities, these military actions cannot be called a war. Only the use of the term "special military operation" to protect the residents of the self-proclaimed DPR and LPR "from genocide" is permissible. At the same time, Russian troops are advancing in the territory outside these republics and are also shelling residential areas.