Ukraine: A new safe haven for mercenaries

Onrush of the Russian military operation in Ukraine has placed president Zelensky into a troublesome situation. Due to the lack of weaponry and ammunition, copious human losses, destruction of vital military infrastructure the Ukrainian leader started seeking actively for any sort of help from the outside. This is borne out by his numerous callouts to EU, NATO and international community for ammunition supplies, on top of that his decision to create a non-visa regime for anyone, who is willing to fight alongside with Ukrainian armed forced and far-right battalions.

Ukraine – new Libya

Zelensky’s determination to make open wide borders for international mercenaries can mould Ukraine into a new safe haven for militants of any kind: starting from European nationalists and Latin-American “soldiers of fortune” to radicals from the Middle-East. Just recently we have witnessed a similar situation in Libya, where each side of the conflict used foreign fighters in internal confrontation. Over 30000 mercenaries from Syria, Chad and others participated in combat actions and they are still present in oil-rich country until this day in spite of reached agreements of their withdrawal.

Latest actions of Kiev lay a firm groundwork to repeat the fate of Libya. Zelensky has already formed a so called “international legion” and it serves as an epicentre for the fighters from all over the world. According to the statement from the brigade general of the Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine Kirill Budanov since the 1st March more than 20000 mercenaries indicated willingness to participate in the war on the Kiev’s side. Furthermore the State Border Guard Service does everything possible to ensure smooth and easy procession of documents to enter the country. Notably on 4th March at least 50 citizens from Georgia, Belorussia, Canada, Great Britain, Netherlands, Croatia, Spain, Columbia, Brazil, Denmark, Poland and USA have showed interest in joining the battle against Russian Armed Forces and crossed the Ukrainian border from Poland through “Shehyni” and “Krakovets” checkpoints.

American factor

Despite the USA’s official refusal of intruding the Ukrainian conflict, in their opinion it would provoke a confrontation between NATO and Russia, Washington continues to render military and material aid to Kiev. Besides supplying Ukrainian government with weaponry and gathered intelligence information there is a high probability that the White House would stoop to or at least won’t resist to transporting to Ukraine illegal armed groups from the Middle-East. Conformable option was exploited by the USA for many years in Syria. It is widely known that the formation “Maghaweir at-Thawra” is acting in the best interest of America by holding on guard the 55 kilometer zone and within US air base “At-Tanf”. Additionally the United States have an endless supply of human resource from prisons controlled by Kurdish forces. It is ought to be noted that the drafting of fighters, including ex-ISIS members, has been done in the past and it is confirmed by a number of sources in social media: from eyewitnesses to captured terrorists themselves. Based on the information from local “eyes and ears” recently over 900 ISIS fighters have been picked out from the refugee camp “Khan al-Jabal’ to complete operations abroad from Syria. Source confirmed that most of the terrorists are Chechen, Uzbeki or Turkish nationality. On 3rd March photos of a large US convoy (around 200 carrier vehicles) were published. It was heading towards “al-Walid” checkpoint and the informer on the Iraqi border stated, that after the checkpoint the convoy proceeded to move towards the Irbil air base. It is entirely possible that very soon ex-prisoners will arrive in Ukraine under the disguise of simple mercenaries and will join “the International legion” in a standoff with Russia.

Notably, president Zelensky himself has ordered to free prisoners, so that could pay their debt to the country through military operations.

Geopolitical aspect

It is obvious to the Arabic world what is in reality happening in the Ukrainian conflict and who is the man behind it. We could see the same scheme on the basis of destruction of unity within the Middle-East region by USA through extensive support to the radical formations, which always follows by American leadership showing the democratic way. However we have seen the results of this in Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen. There is absolutely no governmental power in these former prosperous countries that are drowning in humanitarian crisis to this day. Weakened by war and economic turmoil Iraq and Syria became a safe spot for terrorists from all over the globe. These countries witnessed ins and outs of extremists’ animosity. A decade after the end on the conflict the countries wounds have started to heal but there is still a long way to go until the full recovery.

USA adamantly applies its old strategy “divide and rule” in confrontation against the successor of USSR. Washington has made enemies of brotherly countries of Russia and Ukraine, while knowing what consequences could come of this. War that leaves behind destruction and human losses is unconditionally a tragedy. However the conflict in Ukraine is a logical outcome to the West’s long-standing politics aimed to restrain Russia.

Ahmad Salah
Ahmad Salah
Freelance Syrian journalist focused on the Middle East and especially the Levant.