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Foreign Mercenaries May Use Humanitarian Corridors to Flee Mariupol Amid Russian Special Operation

Sputnik News

20220304
Oleg Burunov

On Thursday, the Russian Defence Ministry said that 200 Croatian mercenaries have already arrived in Ukraine, with a number of other countries, including the UK, planning to give the green light to sending soldiers of fortune to Russia's western neighbour amid Moscow's ongoing special operation there.

Eduard Basurin, spokesman for the Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) militia, has suggested that foreign mercenaries may try to use humanitarian corridors to leave the Ukrainian city of Mariupol under the guise of civilians.

"Maybe they [the mercenaries] will want to escape through these humanitarian corridors, changing their clothes and pretending to be injured", Basurin told Russia's Rossiya 24.

Forces from the Donetsk People's Republic and Lugansk People's Republic (LPR) earlier completely blocked Mariupol, which, however, is still controlled by the Ukrainian Army. Opening humanitarian corridors to evacuate civilians was agreed upon by Russian and Ukrainian officials during their second round of talks on resolving the Ukraine crisis, held in the Brest region of Belarus on Thursday amid the ongoing Russian special military operation in Ukraine.

Basurin spoke after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky claimed that 16,000 foreign mercenaries are going to fight for Ukraine. Zelensky argued in a video message on Thursday that "Ukraine is meeting the first foreign volunteers" as they are on their way to the country in order "to protect its freedom".

The remarks followed the Japanese newspaper Mainichi quoting an unnamed source as saying that about 70 volunteers from Japan are set to join the ranks of mercenaries in the "foreign legion" of Ukraine. The source asserted that the volunteers include 50 former servicemen from the Japan Self-Defence Forces.

In another development, Russian Defence Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said that the West had increased the dispatch of contract soldiers from private military companies (PMC) to Ukraine, with US military intelligence launching a massive campaign to recruit PMC contractors for Ukraine.

According to estimates from the Russian Defence Ministry, 200 Croatian mercenaries have already arrived in Ukraine as the UK, Denmark, Latvia, and Poland are considering sending soldiers of fortune to Ukraine. Konashenkov said that the mercenaries who are already in Ukraine, "commit sabotage and raids on Russian convoys of equipment and material supplies, as well as aircraft covering them".

Putin Praises Russia's Special Operation in Ukraine

President Vladimir Putin has since said that the Russian military operation in Ukraine is going according to plan, and all of its tasks are being implemented "successfully".

He specifically underlined that Russian troops "have provided corridors in all collision zones without exception, [and] provided transport so that civilians, foreign citizens have the opportunity to go to a safe place".

The decision came after a request for assistance from DPR and LPR, which have witnessed weeks of intensifying shelling by the Ukrainian Army.

In a televised address, Putin stressed that the goal of the operation is "to protect people who have been subjected to abuse, genocide by the Kiev regime for eight years", adding that for this purpose, Russia "will strive to demilitarise and de-Nazify Ukraine, as well as bring to justice those who committed numerous bloody crimes against peaceful residents, including citizens of the Russian Federation".

© Sputnik



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