The massacre of mercenaries, of Ukraine and Russia

Yesterday the Russian agency Tass published the number of mercenaries (including contractors, therefore those paid by the organisations, added to volunteers), who have reportedly died in fighting since the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine. Since the numbers were revealed by one of the two parties, there is no way to verify them with certainty, however what comes from the Kremlin Ministry of Defense is this: and Russian forces have so far eliminated 5,962 foreign soldiers fighting for Kiev, most of whom came from from Poland, of which 1,497 were eliminated in combat while the others died due to side effects. As many as 147 would have been French, 561 Georgians, while of the 1,113 mercenaries from the United States, 491 died and 422 Canadian nationals fell out of 1,005 routes. To these must be added 360 of the 822 mercenaries who arrived from the United Kingdom. In January, the Russian ambassador to Paris Alexey Meshkov had released the speech of the Duma (the Russian parliament) to the French National Assembly regarding the mercenaries present in Ukraine. Russian legislators stressed that, despite Paris' claims, objective information on membership of the “Ukrainian neo-Nazi forces” irrefutably indicates that these soldiers with French passports are taking part in the conflict. Previously, on January 16, the Russian Defense Ministry said that Moscow's armed forces had carried out a precision attack on the site of temporary deployment of foreign mercenaries in Kharkov, with the French making up the majority of those present. The attack had resulted in the elimination of over 60 militants and the wounding of twenty others. Subsequently, the French ambassador to Moscow Pierre Levy was summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry to inform him that the deaths of these people would be the responsibility of Paris.

On the opposite front, again with the benefit of the doubt, the presence of Nepalese already present in Russia where there are numerous people who work as labourers, seems to be established, so much so that the Foreign Ministry in Kathmandu had confirmed the deaths of nine people. Note that enlistment cannot be done directly from Nepal, as local law prohibits it, except for incorporation into the Indian and British forces. According to the Sipri (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute) report, the prospect of a higher earnings than what Nepalese workers perceive, the equivalent of around two thousand dollars compared to three hundred, with the possibility of requesting a Russian passport as a priority, it would have already pushed over thousands of men to enlist, of which 635 would have already died, but for only 200 of them there would be official confirmation. The Sipri numbers were obtained from what was reported by a Nepalese parliamentarian, the former foreign minister Bimala Ray Paudyal, who had spoken to his political colleagues about the enlistment of compatriots amounting to between 14,000 and 15,000.

Next in number of fighters for Moscow are the citizens of the former Soviet republics, estimated at 1,800, and finally another thousand Cubans, Asians and Syrians. Agenzia Nova also reports on talks between the Russian and Nepalese foreign ministers to speed up the repatriation of the bodies and the payment of compensation to the families of the fallen. According to testimonies given to the local press, the foreigners were sent to the front line by the Russians after training that lasted less than fifteen days and involved only light weapons. As reported by CNN, the two weeks would take place at Avangard, a Russian military academy located on the outskirts of Moscow known for being a center of “patriotic education”. This is proven by the video that a student, Shishir Bishwokarma, managed to make available on Youtube. “Here they teach you how to assemble and fire small arms and Kalashnikov Ak-47s,” explains the soldier, saying that his colleagues come from all over the southern hemisphere. He mentioned, among others, Afghan, Indian, Congolese and Egyptian comrades. Avangard photos posted on social media show dozens of what appear to be South Asian soldiers along with native Russian instructors. On the social media Telegram, however, stories appear of soldiers who, speaking neither English nor Russian, used an online translation application to understand the orders of their superiors. This during the battle of Bachmut, which took place between August 2022 and 20 May 2023, would have been the cause of very serious human losses both because understanding was minimal and because the phones used the Ukrainian network, on which Kiev intelligence was listening. Figures aside, what is certain is that despite social media we will know many truths about this war in years.