Skip to content
Edit post

Reuters: Sri Lanka to send delegation to return mercenaries fighting on behalf of Russia

by Rachel Amran and The Kyiv Independent news desk May 16, 2024 11:39 PM 2 min read
Foreign mercenaries, who reportedly fought for Russia in Ukraine and were captured by Ukrainian troops, participated in the press conference on March 15, 2024, in Kyiv. (Screenshot from the recording on Media Center Ukraine – Ukrinform YouTube channel)
This audio is created with AI assistance

Support independent journalism in Ukraine. Join us in this fight.

Become a member Support us just once

The Sri Lankan government will be sending a delegation to Russia to identify and repatriate its citizens fighting on behalf of Russia in Ukraine, Reuters reported on May 16.

According to reports, a top official in the Sri Lankan government stated that the government will send a delegation to Russia to investigate the fate of hundreds of nationals reportedly fighting in the war in Ukraine.

Social media campaigns operating on WhatsApp have targeted ex-military personnel in Sri Lanka, promising lucrative salaries and Russian citizenship to fight in Ukraine on Russia's behalf. The country's Defense Ministry warned its citizens not to be duped.

Online agents obtain the numbers of former servicemen in Sri Lanka and then arrange flights as well as documentation to bring them to Russia.

The campaign is especially successful in Sri Lanka, where the economy continues to struggle with the aftermath of the worst financial crisis in more than seven decades. Reuters reports that poverty rates have more than doubled since pre-pandemic levels, pushing hundreds of people to migrate.

Sri Lanka's government launched an investigation earlier this month into reports of Sri Lankan nationals with military backgrounds being trafficked to fight in Ukraine.

"The primary challenge lies in determining the exact number of individuals in Russia. As per unofficial sources, approximately 600-800 Sri Lankan individuals are in Russia," State Minister for Foreign Affairs Tharaka Balasuriya told reporters.

Sri Lanka has received over 288 complaints from families of nationals who have reportedly left the country to fight in Ukraine. The authorities have arrested seven people, including a retired general, in connection with the human trafficking scheme.  

At least 16 Sri Lankan nationals have died fighting in Ukraine.

Russia has been recruiting foreigners from such countries as Nepal, Somalia, India, Cuba, and others to fight in Ukraine from the very beginning of the full-scale invasion.

Earlier this year, Ukraine's Coordination Headquarters for the Treatment of Prisoners of War announced that Russia increasingly involves foreign mercenaries from countries with a "difficult economic situation" to fight in Ukraine.

According to the Geneva Conventions, mercenaries do not have the right to be combatants or prisoners at war and mercenary activity must be considered a crime.

Earlier in January, Nepal halted issuing foreign work permits for its citizens to work in Russia until further notice after growing numbers of Nepalese mercenaries have been reported killed fighting for the Russian military in Ukraine.

At least 10 Nepalis have been confirmed killed while serving in the Russian Armed Forces, and as many as 200 are estimated to be fighting for Russia as of January, according to Nepal's government.

India identifies ‘major human trafficking network’ luring Indians to fight for Russia in Ukraine
The news came after multiple media reports said that Indian men who came to Russia for work or tourism were then coerced into joining the war against Ukraine.


Support independent journalism in Ukraine. Join us in this fight.
Freedom can be costly. Both Ukraine and its journalists are paying a high price for their independence. Support independent journalism in its darkest hour. Support us for as little as $1, and it only takes a minute.
visa masterCard americanExpress

News Feed

Ukraine Daily
News from Ukraine in your inbox
Ukraine news
Please, enter correct email address
3:12 PM

Russian shell production three times greater than of Ukraine's allies.

Using publicly available data, consulting firm Bain & Company claims that Russian factories can produce or refurbish 4.5 million 152 mm shells for $1,000 per round this year. European countries and the U.S. are only expected to produce 1.3 million 155 mm shells combined at an average cost of $4,000 per unit.
12:50 PM

Governor: 16 killed in Russian strike on Kharkiv hypermarket.

The death toll of Russia’s May 25 strike on a building materials hypermarket in Kharkiv has risen to 16, Kharkiv Oblast Governor Oleh Syniehubov said on the afternoon of May 26. Over 40 people are confirmed to have been wounded, and over a dozen more are considered missing, the National Police reported earlier the same day.
2:55 AM

Russia attacks 10 communities in Sumy Oblast.

The attacks caused 174 recorded explosions in the area. The village of Znob-Novhorodske endured the heaviest assault, with 59 explosions caused by Russian artillery, mortars, and Grad MLRS.
MORE NEWS

Editors' Picks

Enter your email to subscribe
Please, enter correct email address
Subscribe
* indicates required
* indicates required
Subscribe
* indicates required
* indicates required
Subscribe
* indicates required

Subscribe

* indicates required
Subscribe
* indicates required

Subscribe

* indicates required
Subscribe
* indicates required

Subscribe

* indicates required
Successfuly subscribed
Thank you for signing up for this newsletter. We’ve sent you a confirmation email.