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Russia speeds up recruitment of mercenaries from Africa, military intelligence says

by Kateryna Denisova May 28, 2024 6:37 PM 2 min read
Russian soldiers patrol the area surrounding the Ukrainian military unit in Perevalnoye, outside Simferopol, Crimea, on March 20, 2014. (Filippo Monteforte/AFP via Getty Images)
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Russia has significantly intensified the recruitment of mercenaries from Africa for the full-scale war against Ukraine, Ukraine's military intelligence (HUR) said on May 28.

Moscow has been reportedly recruiting foreigners from such countries as Nepal, Somalia, India, Cuba, and others to fight in Ukraine from the very beginning of the all-out invasion.

New mercenaries from Rwanda, Burundi, Congo, and Uganda are being recruited as assault troopers by a specially created unit of the Russian Defense Ministry, Ukraine's military intelligence said.

"The mercenaries are lured by a starting payment of $2,000 for signing a contract, promised a monthly allowance of $2,200, health insurance, and Russian passports for them and their families," HUR said.

Moscow deployed units from the Russian Defense Ministry's Africa Corps to fight alongside Russia's regular army and Storm-Z units comprised of convicts to attack the town of Vovchansk in Kharkiv Oblast over the past week, according to the U.K. Defense Ministry.

Russia's Africa Corps reportedly emerged in 2013 and consists of over 2,000 soldiers and officers, as well as experienced mercenaries, many of whom previously served in the Wagner Group. This group was likely previously deployed in Syria, Libya, Burkina Faso, and Niger, according to the ministry.

Military Intelligence: Nepalese mercenaries desert Russian army in droves
The Nepalese soldiers, assigned to military unit number 29328 of Russia’s Armed Forces, are deserting due to heavy losses, non-payment of salaries, and commanders’ abuse, “including executions for refusing to follow orders,” Ukraine’s military intelligence agency (HUR) said on May 1.
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