Russia-Ukraine War

Number of mercenaries in Ukraine halved since February, Russia claims

Russian Defense Ministry says foreign fighters almost stopped arriving in Ukraine

Elena Teslova  | 02.06.2022 - Update : 03.06.2022
Number of mercenaries in Ukraine halved since February, Russia claims


Since the Russia-Ukraine war began in late February, the number of foreign mercenaries in Ukraine has nearly been halved from 6,600 to 3,500, the Russian Defense Ministry claimed on Thursday.

Since the beginning of May, mercenaries have almost stopped arriving to Ukraine, ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said at a press briefing in Moscow.

The foreign fighters suffer heavy losses due to the low level of training and the lack of combat experience, he said.

Also, the Ukrainian military chiefs, protecting their soldiers, are throwing mercenaries to the most difficult war zones, Konashenkov said.

"Due to the Kyiv regime's hush-up of losses and the absence of remains, relatives of mercenaries in the countries of residence simply do not know about their deaths.

"Facing a real combat situation and heavy losses among the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the National Guard, a significant number of mercenaries prefer to leave the territory of Ukraine as soon as possible, but the Kyiv regime in every way prevents them from leaving abroad," Konashenkov said.

The spokesman then reported about the strikes carried out by the Russian army in Ukraine on Wednesday night.

The Russian aviation units shot down one of Ukraine's Su-25 fighter jets, while the air defense systems brought down seven unmanned aerial vehicles, he added.

Also, 615 concentrations of manpower and military equipment, over 131 command points, several fuel depots, and 146 artillery and mortar batteries in firing positions were hit last night, he said.

The aviation also hit an air-defense system Osa-AKM, 10 tanks, and infantry fighting vehicles, three Grad multiple rocket launchers, seven artillery guns and mortars, and 18 special vehicles, he said.

"In total, since the beginning of the special military operation, 186 aircraft, 129 helicopters, 1,084 unmanned aerial vehicles, 327 air defense systems, 3373 tanks and other armored combat vehicles, 460 multiple rocket launchers, 1,752 field artillery and mortar guns, as well as 3,350 units of special military vehicles have been destroyed," he said.

According to UN estimates, at least 4,149 civilians have been killed and 4,945 injured in Ukraine since the war began on Feb. 24, with the true toll believed to be much higher.

Over 6.8 million people have fled to other countries, while more than 7.7 million have been internally displaced, according to the UN refugee agency.

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