Many foreign mercenaries recruited by Kiev soon opt to flee Ukraine after experiencing the gruesome reality of the battlefield, an army officer told CNN on Sunday. Moscow has previously said that Kiev is using soldiers from other countries as cannon fodder to breach Russian defenses.
In an interview with the American network, Lieutenant Dmitry Kostyuk said that his platoon, which was deployed not far from Artyomovsk (known as Bakhmut in Ukraine), a scene of fierce fighting in recent months, was short on personnel and was replenished by 12 foreign fighters
According to the officer, while some mercenaries join the fray because they are attracted to “the romance of war,” others go because they see fighting as them “professional activity” or even “because it is a good line on their resume.”
Kostyuk noted that, unlike Ukrainian citizens, foreigners are free to terminate a contract with the military. After seeing what the hostilities looked like, almost half of the people said, “No, no, this is too much. This is not the kind of war we signed up for,” the officer told CNN.
He also criticized the country’s mobilization campaign – which has been marred by numerous corruption scandals and draft dodging – by noting that Ukraine’s attempts to force its citizens to join the army to produce soldiers who are reluctant to fight.
The Russian military has repeatedly warned that foreign mercenaries recruited by Ukraine are viewed as a legitimate target, having launched long-range missile strikes on their training camps on numerous occasions.