European volunteers are streaming into Ukraine to join the fighting on both sides. While Kiev’s forces are beefed up with mercenaries from private military companies, Europeans have also come to defend the rebel Donbass region of their own free will.
One of the latest reinforcements of anti-Kiev troops in Eastern Ukraine are four French ex-serviceman who have come to fight this war, thousands of kilometers from home.
“It’s our war. It’s everybody’s war, it’s every European’s war,” Guillaume, a French fighter in Ukraine defending the Donbass region, told Paula Slier.
“These are people’s militias, these are not mercenaries or professional soldiers, so they need instruction,” Nikola said.
“They really have the motivation, whereas the Kiev army, which is a kind of puppet of NATO, they don’t have any motivation whatsoever,” Nikola said. “We have seen them before. They are very much unmotivated and they do not really know why they are fighting, and against whom they are fighting, so that is our main strength.”
The French volunteer explained that the presence of European volunteers among Ukraine’s rebels carrying out what they call “a military operation for protecting civilians” in the country’s east is symbolic.
“For many of these people from the west, it's their first time to come and defend what is considered by western governments a bad cause, or the bad guys’ cause. So it’s very important to show that people from the west are distinct from their governments and they are ready to come and fight and risk their lives to defend another world,” Nikola said.
And more and more overseas fighters are signing up and joining the anti-Kiev troops.
Exactly one month ago, Russia’s Rossyiskaya Gazeta daily quoted Igor Strelkov, the former Defense Minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, who claimed that as of the end of July, self-defense militia had eliminated up to 330 mercenaries representing a number of foreign private military companies.
Strelkov specified the casualties from each of them, saying that Polish private military company ASBS (Analizy Systemowe Bartlomiej Sienkiewicz) Othago lost 139 mercenaries, American Greystone Ltd, a subsidiary of Vehicle Services Company LLC belonging to Blackwater/XE/Academi, lost 40 fighters, while Academi itself lost 125 personnel.