HomeEuropePutin offers citizenship to foreigners who fight for Russia against Ukraine

Putin offers citizenship to foreigners who fight for Russia against Ukraine

Putin offers citizenship to foreigners who fight for Russia against Ukraine

Moscow (Reuters/Fox News) – President Vladimir Putin issued a decree on Thursday allowing foreign nationals who fight for Russia in Ukraine to obtain Russian citizenship for themselves and their families.

The order said people who have signed contracts during what Moscow calls its “special military operation” in Ukraine can apply to get Russian passports for themselves and their spouses, children and parents. They must provide documents showing that they signed up for a minimum of one year.

READ MORE : Russia launches the biggest aerial barrage of the war and kills 30 civilians, Ukraine says

Those eligible include people who have signed contracts with the regular armed forces or other “military formations” – a description that could apply to groups such as the Wagner mercenary organisation.

The measure appeared to be aimed at creating additional incentives for foreigners with military experience to apply to join Russian ranks.

Moscow does not publish data on the number of foreigners fighting on its side in Ukraine. However, Reuters has reported previously on Cubans who signed up for the military in return for bonuses equivalent to more than 100 times the average Cuban monthly salary, and three Africans recruited by Wagner, of whom two were killed in action.

The statistic was highlighted in a declassified U.S. intelligence report that found Russia began its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 with 360,000 troops, a source familiar with the document told Reuters at the time.

The report also said Russia started the war with 3,100 tanks but has since lost 2,200 of them, and after backfilling its army with T-62 tanks produced in the 1970s, it only has about 1,300 tanks on the battlefield, according to Reuters, citing the source.

Global intelligence reports have shown extensive efforts by Russian agents to field combatants in the conflict from foreign countries.

The Kremlin has repeatedly said no further mobilisation is needed, however, because hundreds of thousands of men signed voluntary contracts last year to become professional soldiers.

Rescuers work at the site of a destroyed apartment building after a Russian attack in Kyiv, Ukraine. Photo : (Efrem Lukatsky/AP)

Neither Russia nor Ukraine has disclosed the extent of its losses in the 22-month war. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said last month that his military had proposed mobilising 450,000-500,000 more people, and the Kyiv parliament on Thursday began reviewing a contested piece of draft legislation that would tighten and expand mobilisation rules.

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