Friday, August 26, 2022

Europe Primary Source of Foreigners Fighting for Ukraine against Russia, Moscow Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, July 30 – The Russian defense ministry says that of the 7107 foreigners who have come to Ukraine to fight against Moscow’s “special military operation,” 4902 are from Europe, 1318 from the Americas, 684 are from Asia, 198 from Africa, and five from Australia and Oceania (

            In each case, the ministry provides its estimates for individual countries and on the number of those who have come, left or been killed. It does not provide estimates on the ethnicity or the citizenship of those involved, thus overstating some countries where there are significant diaspora populations, such as Chechens in Europe.

            But some details are nonetheless interesting even though these are estimates and part of Moscow’s propaganda effort. Among European countries, Poland is the point of origin for the largest number – 1835. Then in declining number, the figures are 504 from Romania, 429 from Great Britain, and 185 from France.

            According to the Russian ministry, 208 fighters have come to Ukraine from Belarus, a pattern Russian commentators explain by arguing that “Belarus is the most ‘Polish’ republic of the former USSR.” As far as North America is concerned, 605 Canadian residents have come to fight Russians in Ukraine and 544 US ones.

            Moscow also celebrates the large number of foreign fighters who have been killed in Ukraine or who, after coming to Ukraine, decided to return to their homelands rather than to continue the fight.

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