Russia willing to allow ‘volunteer fighters’ from West Asia to join fight against Ukraine
More than 16,000 foreign fighters have expressed their desire to join the 'liberation movement' of the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics
By News Desk - March 11 2022

Celebrations in the Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics following Moscow’s recognition of their independence. (Photo credit: AP Photo/Alexei Alexandrov)

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on 11 March his approval to allow thousands of volunteer fighters from across West Asia to join the forces of the People’s Republics of Luhansk and Donetsk.

During a meeting of the Russian Security Council, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu revealed that the Kremlin had received “numerous requests from various volunteers from various countries, who want to come to the People’s Republics of Luhansk and Donetsk to participate in what they believe is a liberation movement.”

“The majority of requests came from [West Asia], as we have received over 16,000 of them,” Shoigu specified.

In response to the news, the Russian president said: “We need to meet those who want to join voluntarily, to come and help the people who live in Donbass.”

Putin also referred to the west’s ongoing recruitment efforts of mercenaries and extremist groups from across the globe, saying: “As for the mercenaries from all over the world being sent to Ukraine, we see that they do not conceal it, the western sponsors of Ukraine, the Ukrainian regime, do not hide it, they do it openly, neglecting all norms of international law.”

Kiev claims some 20,000 foreign citizens from 52 nations have agreed to help its cause.

On 8 March, hundreds of militants belonging to Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) extremist group arrived in Ukraine to join the fight against the Russian army. They reportedly left Idlib governorate in northern Syria after receiving extensive training by US troops illegally stationed in Al-Tanf base.

“If you see that there are people who are willing to come as volunteers, especially not for money, and help people residing in Donbass, well, we need to meet them halfway and assist them in moving to the combat zone,” Putin went on to add.

He also ordered that the defense minister prepare a separate report on strengthening Russia’s western borders “in connection to the actions that NATO countries are taking in this direction.”

In late February, Moscow launched a special military operation against its eastern neighbor after recognizing the independence of Luhansk and Donetsk and following a seven-year conflict between Ukrainian forces and the separatist regions.

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