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Ukrainian intelligence says Moscow recruits mercenaries from Central Africa for war against Ukraine

Financial rewards and other benefits are being used to lure fighters from Rwanda, Burundi, and other countries.
kharkiv 10 May 2024
Aftermath of the Russian attack on Kharkiv on 10 May, 2024. Credit: Ukraine’s State Emergency
Ukrainian intelligence says Moscow recruits mercenaries from Central Africa for war against Ukraine

Russia has intensified recruitment of mercenaries from Central Africa for war against Ukraine, says the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Defense Ministry of Ukraine.

The 24 May report by British Intelligence revealed that Moscow was recruiting fighters from at least 21 countries for the war in Ukraine, including India, Cuba, Syria, and Serbia. The Africa Corps, which Russia uses to kill Ukrainians, was established in December 2023.

The unit comprises more than 2,000 regular soldiers, officers, and experienced mercenaries, many of whom have previously served in the Wagner Group, UK intelligence reported. Russia is also known for recruiting prisoners to fight the war in Ukraine.

Now, the aggressor state has increased its campaign on recruitment of foreign mercenaries from Rwanda, Burundi, Congo, and Uganda.

A specially created unit of the Russian Ministry of Defense is handling the recruitment of Africans for “meat” assaults on Ukrainian soil. The fighters are lured with a starting bonus of $2,000 for signing a contract, a promised monthly salary of $2,200, medical insurance, and Russian passports for a soldier and his relatives.

Earlier, a Ukrainian intelligence agency said that mercenaries from Nepal were deserting en masse from Russian forces. The desertion of Nepali mercenaries occurred in the military unit 29328 due to “meat assaults,” brutal treatment by Russian field commanders, including executions for refusing to follow orders, and non-payment of promised money.

Groups of Russian invaders actively searched for deserters in occupied Ukrainian settlements, particularly in Luhansk, where the personnel of military unit 29328 was stationed, but these efforts “usually yield no results,” the intelligence added.

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