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RUSSIA is discussing a request from Washington regarding two US mercenaries who were caught fighting in Ukraine, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov confirmed today.
“We have received the request,” Mr Ryabkov said, although did not elaborate. “We do not disclose the content of diplomatic requests and do not comment on them,” he explained.
“Anyway, we have received a signal from Washington and are discussing it now,” the government official said.
Kremlin spokesman Dimitri Peskov had said earlier that the two men — Alexander Drueke and Andy Huynh — were foreign mercenaries and not protected under the Geneva Convention.
There has been speculation that the pair could face the same fate as British nationals Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner who were sentenced to death in a Donetsk court earlier this month.
Efforts are being made to secure their release although the Donetsk authorities have said there is no grounds to pardon the men who were caught after surrendering in Mariupol in May.
Russia claims that at least 3,000 British mercenaries are inside Ukraine with German media suggesting that international volunteers from 55 countries have answered a call by President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Last week the Morning Star reported on a group of mercenaries posing as humanitarian workers who claimed to have destroyed a Russian tank in Mikolaiv “with US-supplied javelin missile.”
Footage of the action, carried out by a group known as the Dark Angels, was posted on social media and is believed to have been carried out earlier this month.
Founder of the Dark Angels, Daniel Burke, a former British paratrooper, is known to have fought in Syria as part of the Kurdish-led People’s Protection Units (YPG).
Another YPG fighter Macer Gifford, a former City banker and Tory councillor with links to intelligence services, announced he was heading to the front to “fight Russians” yesterday.
“I'm preparing to head to the front and fight the Russians,” he said, adding: “Ukraine is a beautiful country that is being ripped apart by Putin's fanaticism.”
“Internationals and humanists everywhere should be supporting them,” Mr Gifford said.
He has also set up an NGO — the Nightingale Squadron — which he said seeks to emulate the pseudo-humanitarian White Helmets organisation.
That name has however sent chills to to the people of Lviv due to its similarity to the Nazi Nachtigall Battalion which massacred some 4,000 Jews in the west Ukrainian city over two days in July 1941.
The unit was made up of Ukrainian volunteers commanded by Stepan Bandera's Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN).
Britain’s Foreign Office has warned that travelling to Ukraine to fight is illegal and those that do so face punishment.
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