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    March 23, 2016

    Three US Afghanistan veterans fighting in Ukraine's "Kievan Rus" battalion

     Russian Spring, March 23, 2016
    Translated from Russian by Tom Winter

    US citizens among the Ukrainian soldiers in the Donbass

    Three Americans have signed a contract with the Armed Forces of Ukraine and joined the punitive battalion "Kievan Rus", fighting in the area of the "ATO." 

    "Kievan Rus" is the only division in which foreigner may officially serve.

    "We have Georgians and Americans. Twelve Georgians and three Americans. The Americans have served in the US Army, fighting in Afghanistan. At present, they are on two-month "probation" -- end of two months, we decide on keeping them or not," said Eugene Lavrov to Ukrainian media. Lavrov is the battalion commander. 

    Official service by foreign citizens in the ranks of the Armed Forces of Ukraine became possible after the parliament adopted, and Poroshenko signed into law, an act legalizing their status. The law was adopted against the background of mass defections of Ukrainian conscripts, who were sent straight to the war zone in the Donbass without any preparation or proper level of equipment.

    To remedy the lack of soldiers, the Ukrainian leadership through intermediaries began contracting with private military companies in the US and other countries.
    However, their presence in the conflict zone was short term. But the war in Donbass has attracted a whole pack, a motley assortment - from sympathetic Ukrainian Nazi radicals out of Western Europe to the "Wild Goose" and adventurers from around the world.

    Unlike professional mercenaries, the assortment is much smaller, and many of the "free lances" in general are ready to pay extra for the opportunity to legally kill people.

    It should be noted that the withdrawal of units, staffed by foreigners, from the conflict zone in the Donbass was one of the points of the Minsk agreements, which the Ukrainian government ignored in passing this law. 

    According to the law, having contracted with the Armed Forces of Ukraine, foreigners must pass a two-month trial period, after which they must take an oath of allegiance to Ukraine, which is rather strange condition for mercenaries.

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