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Syrian students wave the Syrian, Russian and Palestinian flags under a billboard bearing the portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin during a demonstration in support of Russia

Zelensky Slams Russia for Deploying Syria Mercenaries to Ukraine

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said Friday, March 11, Russia was hiring “murderers” from Syria to fight in Ukraine after Moscow said fighters from the war-torn nation would be allowed to join its forces.

“It’s a war with a very stubborn enemy… who has decided to hire mercenaries against our citizens. Murderers from Syria, a country where everything has been destroyed… like they are doing here to us,” Zelensky said in a video statement on Telegram.

The Kremlin said Friday that fighters from Syria and the Middle East would be allowed to fight for Russia in Ukraine after Russian President Vladimir Putin backed a plan to send “volunteers” to battle there.

“If you see that there are these people who want of their own accord, not for money, to come to help the people living in Donbas, then we need to give them what they want and help them get to the conflict zone,” Putin said.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that “if the West is so enthusiastic about the arrival of mercenaries, then we also have volunteers who want to participate.”

According to Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, more than 16,000 volunteers — mostly from the Middle East — have applied to join the offensive in Ukraine.

In addition, a group of fighters in the Central African Republic have released a video in which they said they were also preparing to join Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

EU leaders have been meeting in France’s Versailles since Thursday to urgently address the fallout of the Russian invasion. On Friday, they sought to double financing for military aid to Ukraine by an extra 500 million euros (around $550 million). They also described Moscow’s attack on Ukraine as a wake-up call for the 27-nation bloc to take a more muscular approach in ensuring its security. (TOI / VFI News)

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