Spread the love

Captured in Ukraine, foreigners say they fought for Russia against their will

Photo: Anatolii Stepanov Agence France-Presse Eight prisoners of war from Cuba, Nepal, Sierra Leone and Somalia told the press that they had been deceived by Russia.

Anna Malpas – Agence France-Presse to kyiv


  • Europe

They say they fled Asia, the Caribbean or Africa for a better life in Russia, but found themselves in the Russian army fighting on the front in Ukraine. Despite themselves, they say after being captured.

At a press conference organized by Ukrainian officials in Kiev, eight prisoners of war from Cuba, Nepal, Sierra Leone and Somalia described being lured to Russia by promises of high salaries, but being deceived and found themselves on the front.

The organizers presented these men to the press as “mercenaries” from “Southern” countries, and claimed to treat them in the same way as Russian prisoners of war.

The AFP was unable to interview the eight men separately and chose not to name them, as the Geneva Convention provided in particular for protecting prisoners of war from public curiosity.

All said they spoke of their own free will, but were supervised by masked jailers who listened to them speak to the press. Their comments, however, confirm what AFP journalists in India and Nepal have established regarding the Russian army's recruitment methods when it comes to foreign nationals.

A 35-year-old Cuban wearing dreadlocks described responding to a Facebook post offering construction work in Russia. “I didn’t think I was coming to war,” he said.

Tearful Sierra Leonean man says he paid a recruiter and flew to Russia in the hope of finding a 'good job' to support his large family .

He said he only realized afterwards that he had signed a contract in Russian with the Kremlin forces, something he never wanted to do.

In other cases, the recruits knew they were joining the army, but thought they would perform menial tasks and in any case not go into combat.

Also read

  • Russia claims new progress against a Ukraine lacking weapons
  • Ottawa announces $40 million to supply Ukraine with artillery ammunition

In the first line

“When the Russians offer these people 2,000 dollars a month and say that they will be used as bodyguards or in the third line, they are very tempted,” Petro Yatsenko, door – spokesperson for the Ukrainian office responsible for prisoners of war.

A young Somali admits to being involved. His goal is to give “a good future” to his family.

“I didn’t know that I would be on the front line,” explains the young man, claiming to have been “sent there without knowing the language”.

A 32-year-old Nepali man, who said he watched videos on TikTok showing Nepalis joining the Russian army, admits his motivation was “of course money.”

AFP journalists in India and Nepal investigated this type of recruitment and discovered that it was often carried out through informal intermediaries and promotional videos broadcast on social networks.< /p>

They then reassure candidates without military experience, with the promise of occupying non-combatant functions and that of a permanent residence permit in Russia.

In reality, once enlisted, they receive basic weapons training and are eventually deployed to the front lines.


Nepal said five of its enlisted citizens are prisoners of war in Ukraine and at least 12 others were killed in combat. The country has banned its nationals from working in Russia or Ukraine, and has asked Moscow to send back its recruits. The Kremlin, questioned by AFP on the subject, did not wish to comment.

Among the eight prisoners presented in Kiev, the only one who spoke basic Russian was a 24-year-old Nepalese man, who struggled to hold a pen due to burns on his hands sustained in the war.

He was studying and working in Russia when he saw recruitment posters to become “a security guard or something,” he said.

Ukrainian Prisoners of War Office spokesman Petro Yatsenko urged countries to act to prevent their citizens from being “duped by recruiters who promise them mounds of gold.”

Those captured “in military uniform, with weapons” at the front will be brought to justice.

“It is up to the court to decide whether they are mercenaries,” explains Mr. Yatsenko, assuring that Ukraine wants to “transfer them to their country of origin”.< /p>

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116