Since the Russian Invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022, approx. 11,675 private military contractors (PMCs) from 84 countries have joined the Ukrainian Foreign Legion, the Russian Ministry of Defense claimed July 10. As the Ukrainian counteroffensive stalls, Western volunteers worry about being used as cannon fodder and thrown into the “meat grinder”, Russia claims.
The largest numbers of mercenaries apparently came from Poland (over 2,600), the US and Canada (over 900 from each), Georgia (over 800), Great Britain and Romania (over 700 each), Croatia (over 300), as well as from France and the part of Syria controlled by Türkiye (over 200 each), Russia Today reports.
An unknown number of “retired” American service members have volunteered to fight in Ukraine, in addition to active DoD and CIA personnel deployed in-country.
The CIA mainstains “a network of commandos and spies among European partners set up to provide critical weapons and military intelligence to Ukraine,” Responsible Statecraft writes. “Even as the Biden administration has declared it will not deploy American troops to Ukraine, some C.I.A. personnel have continued to operate in the country secretly, mostly in the capital, Kyiv, directing much of the massive amounts of intelligence the United States is sharing with Ukrainian forces”, according to the New York Times.
According to the Pentagon Leaks, there are “at least 97 special forces from Nato countries active in Ukraine,” The Guardian reported. Of these 50 were British, 14 American and 15 French. “The UK’s special forces include the SAS, the Special Boat Service, the Special Reconnaissance Regiment, as well as several other secretive military units such as the 18 (UKSF) Signals Regiment.”
According to the Pentagon Leaks, there were a total of 29 DoD personnel in Ukraine in April. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) has filed a resolution to force White House Resident Joe Biden to reveal how many American troops are deployed in Ukraine, Breitbart reported.
How many US volunteers and “retired” service members are active in Ukraine is not known. A US mercenary was allegedly present at the killing of 11 Russian POWs in Makeyevka in the northern Luhansk region in November, as Gateway reported.
The peak influx of foreign mercenaries was immemiately after the Russian Invasion, but after the first casualties, the growth rate suddenly decreased, Russia claims. “Moscow now believes the number of foreign PMCs in Ukraine is rapidly declining. Russia’s Ministry of Defense believes that only around 2,000 remain today. It has also claimed that about 5,000 foreign volunteers fled Ukraine after seeing how the authorities treated them,” Russia Today writes.
President Vladimir Zelensky announced the formation of the International Legion of Territorial Defense in order to attract foreign volunteers to Ukraine Feb. 27, 2022. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba claimed that by March 6, more than 20,000 volunteers from 52 countries had joined. In March 2023, the New York Times found there may be only 1,500 members of the Ukraine Foreign Legion.
Moscow now claims that, due to problems with mobilization in Ukraine, considerable losses, and flagging recruitment in Western countries, Kiev has begun actively recruiting fighters from Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East – from Argentina, Brazil, Afghanistan, Iraq, and “US-controlled areas of Syria,” Russia Today writes.
According to French RTL television channel, foreigners who join the International Legion receive about €500 ($550) per month – or €3,000 if they serve on the front line. RTL claims that most French citizens who join the AFU buy their own equipment, since the Ukrainian army cannot provide all of them with gear. One mercenary, who has been in Ukraine since the beginning of the conflict and wished to remain anonymous, said that he spent almost €50,000. For example, an assault rifle costs €4,000, but some people go so far as to buy cars to go to the front. Some spend their personal savings, while others announce online fundraising campaigns, RTL reports.
During Russian interrogations, “captured Ukrainian servicemen have reportedly said the commanders of front-line AFU units are not held accountable for losses among mercenaries,” Russia Today reports. “The Ukrainian command throws units with foreign mercenaries into so-called ‘meat-grinder assaults’ on Russian positions. Wounded mercenaries are the last to be evacuated, only after all Ukrainian servicemen are removed [from the battlefield],” claimed the Russian Ministry of Defense.
Sky News Australia recently portrayed Irish volunteer Rhys Byne, who was leaving the front lines after “nearly getting killed” by “an encounter with a Russian tank.”
The post 900 US PMCs in Ukraine: “Ukrainian Command Throws Foreign Mercs into ‘Meat-Grinder’” appeared first on The Gateway Pundit.