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Kremlin Recruits African Migrants and Students to Join Russian Troops in Ukraine War, Reports Bloomberg

A booklet recruiting migrants to fight in the Russian army
A booklet recruiting migrants to fight in the Russian army. (Source: Defense Intelligence of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine via official website)

The Kremlin has coerced thousands of migrants and foreign students into joining Russian troops in the war against Ukraine, bolstering their forces in the Kharkiv region, as reported by Bloomberg citing unnamed European officials.

Employing tactics reminiscent of the Wagner mercenary group, Russian authorities have increasingly resorted to threatening African students and young workers with visa non-renewal unless they enlist. There have been instances of Moscow recruiting inmates from its prisons, while some African workers with visas have faced detention and ultimatums: deportation or military service.

Despite attempts to evade conscription through bribery, many individuals find themselves compelled to choose between deportation or combat. These practices, noted by inside sources, have been ongoing since the early stages of the war, with these forced recruits often facing disproportionate risks in combat situations. The Russian Foreign Ministry declined to comment on these allegations, according to the report.

Ukrainian intelligence reports suggest that Russia has been conducting a wide-ranging recruitment campaign, targeting foreign mercenaries particularly in Africa.

“The recruitment of Africans for their participation in ‘meat assaults’ on Ukrainian territory is carried out by a special unit of the Russian Defence ministry,” as stated by Defense Intelligence of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine.

The toll on the Russian military has been severe, with the UK Ministry of Defence reporting over 1,200 casualties per day in May, marking the highest rate of losses since the war began. Ukraine’s Defense Ministry announced on June 1 that Russian troop losses in May reached 38,940, marking the highest monthly figure since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022.

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