Pentagon claims Russia left to ‘rely on foreign fighters’ after trying to recruit Syrians

Putin could decide on 'full mobilisation' says US General

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Experts say Russia’s recruitment of Syrians is the latest sign that Russia’s attack on Ukraine is not going as well as planned. 

Spokesperson for the Pentagon, John Kirby, stated that the exact numbers of the Syrian fighters Russia is attempting to recruit are unknown. 

Mr Kirby told reporters: “The accounts of the Russians seeking Syrian fighters to augment their forces in Ukraine, we do believe there’s truth to that.”

He added: “It’s interesting that (Russian President Vladimir) Putin would have to rely on foreign fighters.”

It is unclear how much time it would take for Syrian fighters to reach Ukraine or how long it would take to integrate into the military and their effectiveness in an unknown country. 

A senior US defence official said “we’re not seeing a lot of progress” in terms of Russia’s invasion and attributed the lack of progress to the strong Ukrainian resistance and “internal challenges” within the Russian military.

The defence official said that “we find it noteworthy that [Putin] believes he needs to rely on foreign fighters” and added that there was no evidence to suggest that Syrian fighters have arrived in Ukraine.

The Pentagon has also reported that Russia has deployed “nearly 100 percent” of the forces it had positioned near the Ukrainian border before its attack on Ukraine.

In 2015, Russia supported Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Syria’s civil war and Russia’s military remained in the country until the present day. 

The recruitment effort from Russia was first reported by DeirEzzor24, a Syrian website that advertised that Moscow wanted volunteer guards to work on six-month contracts.

The website noted that the volunteer guards would be paid between $200 and $300 a month. 

The website also reported that Wagner, a Russian mercenary firm, has been readying its Syrian operatives who served in the Libyan war for General Khalifa Haftar to transfer to Ukraine. 

The Wall Street Journal stated that Syrian mercenaries had already arrived in Russia to enter the fight.

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According to Ramazan Kadyrov, President Putin has also employed Chechen forces to be deployed in Ukraine.

The secretary of Ukraine’s national security and defence council, Oleksiy Danilov claimed that a unit of Chechen special forces had been ordered to kill Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Reports of Belarusian troops preparing to make their way to the border have been denied by the Pentagon who have said there appears to be no evidence of Belarus preparing to take part.

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