Around 3,000 British volunteers are currently fighting on the Ukrainian side in the war against Russia, a Georgian commander has told Sky News.
It is estimated that there are currently 20,000 foreign troops in Ukraine.
Seeking more information on the role played by foreign nationals, we spoke to veteran Georgian officer, Mamuka Mamuashvili.
He is in charge of the Georgian Legion, another military unit under Ukrainian command made up largely of foreigners.
Mr Mamuashvili founded it when hostilities in eastern Ukraine began in 2014.
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He said about 70-80% of foreign volunteer fighters initially go through the Georgian unit.
However, only one in 10 remains in their battalion as they seek greater combat experience. The others go to the International Legion.
Georgians make up the largest proportion of foreign fighters in Ukraine, with British recruits making up the second largest contingent.
The Georgian commander believes there are around 3,000 British volunteers currently fighting on the Ukrainian side – but the British government does not officially track the number of Britons going to Ukraine.
Ukrainians may know the real number, but it’s unclear if they really check if someone claims to be British.
Ukrainian officials have said little about the foreign fighters who traveled there to fight.
The recruits from the United States form the third largest group.
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We don’t know how many foreign nationals have volunteered their services and we don’t know much where they are from – although a government-run website says people from eight countries, including the UK United and Canada, signed up for their new International Legion. .
The Legion’s website outlines how recruits with combat experience can express an interest.
With the 24-year-old Briton Jordan Gately dieswho was shot dead in the city of Severodonetsk, much attention is now focused on the risks associated with the fighting in Ukraine.
Last week, two former British soldiers were sentenced to death when they were captured by the Russians at Mariupol.
Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner, who joined the Ukrainian army in 2018, have been branded mercenaries and convicted of terrorism. The British government says they should be treated as prisoners of war and called the trial a “sham”.
Jordan Gately’s father Dean said his son was serving in the International Legion when he was killed in Severodonetsk. In addition to active combat, he also helped train volunteer soldiers.
Mamuashvili says a significant proportion of foreign fighters have come to work as instructors, with the majority of those now joining international battalions taking on training roles.
It’s a key task, says the Georgian, with his battalion morphing into smaller special forces units to take on the Russians.
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Post expires at 3:17pm on Friday June 24th, 2022