HomeNewsMiddle Eastern volunteers keen to fight with pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine

Middle Eastern volunteers keen to fight with pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine

As many as 16,000 Middle Eastern volunteers are keen to fight with Russian-backed rebel fighters in Ukraine, the Russian Defence Ministry informed on Friday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that he wanted to allow volunteers to fight against Ukrainian forces and approved handing over captured Western missile systems to pro-Russian rebels.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu proposed handing over American made anti-tank systems such as Javelin and Stinger to fighters from the rebel regions of Luhansk and Donetsk.

Putin, speaking at a Russian security council meeting, said he supported such an idea. He also said that those who wanted to volunteer to fight with Russian-backed forces should be allowed to. 

Shoigu said there were 16,000 volunteers in the Middle East who were ready to come to fight with Russian-backed forces.

Meanwhile, Russian strikes continue near airports in western Ukraine as the military offensive widened, and invading troops kept up pressure on the capital Kyiv and the besieged port city of Mariupol.

The airstrikes on the Lutsk military airfield left two Ukrainian servicemen dead and six people wounded, according to the head of the surrounding Volyn region, Yuriy Pohulyayko.

The strikes also targeted an airport near Ivano-Frankiivsk, where residents were ordered to shelters after an air raid alert, Mayor Ruslan Martsinkiv said.

New satellite photos, meanwhile, appeared to show a massive convoy outside the Ukrainian capital had fanned out into towns and forests near Kyiv with artillery pieces raised for firing in another potentially ominous movement.

The photos emerged amid more international efforts to isolate and sanction Russia, particularly after a deadly airstrike on a maternity hospital in the port city of Mariupol that Western and Ukrainian officials decried as a war crime.

Ukrainian authorities announced plans for several evacuation and humanitarian aid delivery routes with the support of the Red Cross. Their top priority is to free people struggling to flee Mariupol.

The US and other nations were poised later Friday to announce the revocation of Russia’s “most favored nation” trade status, which would allow higher tariffs to be imposed on some Russian imports.

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