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US State Department: Sending Syrian Fighters to Ukraine an Unjustified Escalation

US State Department: Sending Syrian Fighters to Ukraine an Unjustified Escalation

Monday, 21 March, 2022 - 08:45
First responders work in a building that was struck by a Grad rocket attack in Kharkiv, Ukraine on March 15, 2022. Wolfgang Schwan | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

The United States considered the transfer of foreign fighters to participate in the Russian invasion of Ukraine an “unjustified” escalation, saying that Moscow must instead focus on ending the war.

A spokesperson from the US Department of State told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that Russian President Vladimir Putin's statements regarding sending Syrian and foreign fighters to Ukraine is an additional unjustified escalation against Ukraine.

The spokesperson, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that this attitude shows the Russian mentality and its destructive approach used in Syria, being brought to Ukraine as well.

He added that Russia’s focus should be put on ending the war instead of bringing more suffering to the Ukrainians.

Putin on Friday approved plans to recruit 16,000 fighters from the Middle East to take part in the war in Ukraine.

“If you see that there are people who want of their own accord — not for money — to come to help … then we need to give them what they want and help them get to the conflict zone,” Putin told Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu at a security council meeting in Moscow.

Observers in the US see the decision to summon "mercenaries" from the Middle East, namely Syria, is a clear indicator that Russia does not plan to back down on its military operations in Ukraine.

But Ukraine has succeeded in slowing down the Russian military advancement since Feb. 24 when Putin ordered the invasion. It also urged foreign volunteers to join Ukraine in its defense.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed that more than 40,000 Syrian pro-regime fighters have registered to go to Ukraine to fight alongside the Russians.

"More than 40,000 Syrians have registered to fight alongside Russia in Ukraine so far," said SOHR head Rami Abdel Rahman.

Abdel Rahman said Russia had drawn Syrian army recruits from the 25th Special Mission Forces Division, once better known as the "Tiger Forces".

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