Russia said on Friday that nearly 2,000 foreign mercenaries had been killed in Ukraine since Moscow’s military intervention began in the pro-Western country.
The Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement that 6,956 “mercenaries and weapons specialists” from 64 countries had arrived in Ukraine since the start of the conflict and that “1,956 have already been destroyed”.
Another 1,779 left Ukraine, according to the statement.
He said Poland was the “absolute leader” among European countries in the number of fighters sent to Ukraine, followed by Romania and Britain.
He also singled out “mercenaries” from Canada, the United States and the Caucasus nation of Georgia.
The ministry said the number of foreign fighters is decreasing and many are leaving Ukraine “against the backdrop of the Kyiv regime’s increasing number of military failures and massive daily losses in manpower and equipment”.
On February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin sent troops to Ukraine to “demilitarize” and “denazify” the country.
A European official said in April that up to 20,000 mercenaries from Russia’s private military company Wagner Group, as well as from Syria and Libya, were fighting alongside Moscow’s forces in Ukraine.
Earlier this month, separatist authorities in eastern Ukraine sentenced captured British citizens Aiden Aslin, Shaun Pinner and Brahim Saadun of Morocco to death for acting as mercenaries and attempting to overthrow the government.
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