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Russia Sends Students From Africa To Fight In Its War Against Ukraine

Russia has added extra manpower for its offensive in Kharkiv Oblast, forcing “thousands of migrants and foreign students” to fight alongside its troops in its war against Ukraine, Bloomberg reported on June 9, citing unnamed European officials.

Moscow launched a new offensive on May 10 in Kharkiv Oblast, where it reportedly managed to advance as far as 10 kilometers (6 miles) before Ukraine halted the advance near the first line of defense. On June 8, President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Russian troops had failed their Kharkiv Oblast offensive

According to the Bloomberg report, Russian officials have been threatening African students and young workers not to extend their visas unless “they agree to join the military.” Such a tactic was first deployed by the Russian Wagner mercenary group, Bloomberg reported

While Russia has also been enlisting convicts, some Africans on work visas “have been detained and forced to decide between deportation or fighting,” Bloomberg cited an anonymous European official

“Some of those people had been able to bribe officials to stay in the country and still avoid military service,” the report reads.

This is not the first time the Russian military is reported to have started bringing prisoners, migrants, and foreign nationals into its ranks.

Last September, the U.K. Defense Ministry reported that Russia was stepping up its campaign to recruit foreigners in neighboring countries and exploited migrant workers for its war against Ukraine

The push to recruit foreigners and migrant workers “allows the Kremlin to acquire additional personnel for its war effort in the face of mounting casualties,” the ministry said.

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