Russia’s Ministry of Defense published a list last week of almost 7,000 „foreign mercenaries“ from 64 countries who reportedly came to Ukraine since the conflict began – 2,000 of whom have allegedly been eliminated. The list also included Kosovo. According to Moscow, 156 combatants from Kosovo have gone to Ukraine, and more than 60 of them have died.
„Our lists from June 17 include mercenaries and weapons experts from a total of 64 countries. Since the beginning of the special military operation, 6,956 of them have arrived in Ukraine, 1,956 have already been eliminated, and 1,779 have departed,“ the Russian ministry said, the media across the region reported.
According to this list, Poland “takes the lead” among European countries when it comes to the number of combatants who came to Ukraine to fight against Russia. It is followed by Romania, Great Britain, and Croatia.
Along with the announcement, the Russian Ministry also shared a list with the alleged number of foreign combatants classified by country, their arrival in Ukraine, and those who have been eliminated, departed the country, or still remain there.
A total of 1,831 combatants allegedly came to Ukraine from Poland since the beginning of the war, 378 were eliminated, 272 left this country, and almost 1,200 still remain in Ukraine.
According to Russian sources, Poland is also the country that suffered the greatest losses, followed by the United States – 214, Canada – 162, and Georgia – 120.
According to the Europe section of the list, Croatia provided the fourth highest number of combatants who traveled to Ukraine.
A total of 204 Croats purportedly arrived in Ukraine, 74 of which were killed, and 51 left by June 17.
Seventh on the list is Bosnia and Herzegovina with 167 combatants, while Kosovo takes the ninth place with 156 combatants who allegedly went to Ukraine. Out of that number, 61 were reportedly „eliminated“, 60 left Ukraine, and 35 remain.
It is immediately followed by Albania with 150 combatants, while North Macedonia is 14th on the list with 79 combatants. Serbia, however, is not included in this list.
We were unable to confirm this information from a direct source, given that the websites of the Russian Federation, the official websites of institutions, and the media are not available in Kosovo.
In connection with the allegations of the Russian Ministry, KoSSev reached out to the spokesman of the Kosovo government, Perparim Kryeziu, via e-mail. However, no answer arrived by the time this news was published.
The first reactions from Kosovo to allegations of the Russian Ministry of Defense arrived last night.
Chief of Staff to the President of the Republic of Kosovo, Blerim Vela, was one of the few who reacted, claiming that the list is “Russian disinformation”.
“Russia’s Ministry of Defense published a made-up list of killed combatants from different European countries in the war in Ukraine… Our region needs to block such disinformation,” Vela tweeted.
Although the media across the region and the world reported about the allegations of the Russian ministry, Vela only accused the Serbian media – namely “pro-Vucic regime” media outlets – of amplifying this narrative.
On the other hand, the Pristina media also wrote about the allegations of the Russian ministry, many of them remarking that although Russia does not recognize Kosovo, in this case, it „didn’t have no problem“ with including it on the list with other countries.
The Croatian Ministry of Foreign Affairs also reacted on Saturday. In a statement for the Hina news agency, the ministry said it was not aware of the information on the number of „mercenaries“ from Croatia who went to Ukraine or were eliminated there.
They urged everyone to refrain from spreading unverified data.
Even back in February, i.e. shortly after the invasion began, Russia claimed that citizens from Kosovo and others in the region were fighting in Ukraine.
At the time, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that „militants from Kosovo, Albania, and BiH were recruited to ‘throw Russia off balance’, which includes deploying them to Donbas.“
Bosnia and Herzegovina immediately denied these allegations, as did Pristina, which also accused Russia of spreading disinformation.
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