Russian mercenaries make up 85% of the illegal armed groups in eastern Ukraine, ATO spokesman Colonel Andriy Lysenko reported at a briefing on Friday, March 13.
“According to intelligence reports as of March 12, Ukrainian citizens represent 15-20% of the illegal armed groups, the rest are Russian mercenaries,” he said, adding that the enemy is continuing to build up its forces and to move equipment.
“Intensive combat training of the Russian-terrorist forces continues. The instructor teams are staffed mostly by Russian citizens,” he said.
Lysenko confirmed the information reported earlier by military expert Dmytro Tymchuk, coordinator of the Information Resistance group (IR).
According to Tymchuk, two militant army corps have been deployed in the Donbas, consisting of about 30,000-33,000 fighters, 80-85% of them Russian mercenaries.
“As of today, two armed corps of Russian-terrorist armies (30,000-33,000) have actually been deployed under one centralized DNR and LNR command. Only 15 – 20% (of the fighters) are Ukrainian citizens; the rest are Russian mercenaries,” he wrote in Facebook, March 12.
Furthermore, the terrorist command is pursuing intensive “mobilization measures,” he added. “At the mines and enterprises in the occupied territories massive so-called mobilizations lists of workers are being drawn up on the pretext of preparing for the ‘offensive by Ukrainian troops.'”
Meanwhile, in several areas of Donetsk artillery systems are being secretly moved closer to their previous locations before the so-called weapon “withdrawals.” These rotations are carried out by small groups or individual units. “Artillery and mortars are carefully disguised and access to the areas is forbidden to the local population,” Tymchuk reported.
IR has determined that enhanced combat training of the “Russian-terrorist forces” is taking place primarily at 4 equipped “training centers” on the territories of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts controlled by the terrorists.
“Teams of instructors are staffed mainly by Russian citizens — both personnel officers and mercenaries with extensive combat experience and experience serving in the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation,” Tymchuk wrote.