Russian Military Warns Foreign Mercenaries Fighting in Ukraine Are Criminally Liable
Earlier, Russian Ambassador in Vienna Dmitry Lyubinsky said that Ukraine's embassy in Austria attempted to recruit foreign mercenaries to fight against the Russian military in Ukraine.
Russian Defence Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said that foreign mercenaries are not combatants and that criminal liability awaits them.
"The Kiev regime's urgent attempts to guarantee legal protection to mercenaries, including them in the list of military units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine or the National Guard, or issuing them new passports of Ukrainian citizens, will not save any of them", the general said.
The number of foreign fighters in Ukraine has decreased from 6,600 to some 3,500, Igor Konashenkov said.
"According to the data that we have, today the total number of foreign mercenaries in Ukraine has almost halved - from 6,600 to 3,500 people," Konashenkov told a briefing.
Mercenaries prefer to leave Ukraine because of heavy losses in combat, but the Kiev regime prevents them from departing, according to Konashenkov.
Earlier, Russian Defence Ministry said that Ukrainian authorities have recruited almost 7,000 mercenaries from 63 countries to fight in the conflict, with many having fled, gotten killed or taken prisoner during the operation. Most mercenaries were based in Kiev, Kharkov, Odessa, Nikolaev, and Mariupol.
Russia launched a special military operation in Ukraine on 24 February in response to calls from the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics for protection against intensifying attacks by Ukrainian troops.
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