In the News March 23
Mercenaries in Ukraine Asked to Sign Indefinite Contracts
A mercenary from Cardiff, Wales revealed that volunteer fighters in Ukraine have to sign contracts that oblige them to fight for an indefinite period.
The story in 1843 Magazine, published by The Economist, says Jake Priday, a 25-year-old teacher who had military experience after serving six years in the British Army with tours of duty in Kenya, Estonia and Iraq, decided to go to Ukraine after the start of the Russian military operation on February 24. He arrived on March 3, via Poland, along with other volunteers, some without any military experience and one of whom admitted to being a neo-Nazi wanting to “kill as many Russians” as he could, the magazine writes.
Priday believed that he would be sent to a refugee camp to help the wounded and teach first aid. Instead he was told that volunteers would be sent to the front line after a few days of training. He left after spending less than ten hours on Ukrainian soil, refusing to sign a contract to fight until the end of the conflict in Ukraine. The contract puts the foreign mercenaries under the same Martial Law as Ukrainians, which prohibits any man aged 18 to 60 from leaving the country.
According to an anonymous source in the Ukrainian Defence Ministry, the contract stipulates that mercenaries must serve indefinitely in Ukraine and would receive about 7,000 hryvnia a month (approximately $230) for their service. To leave, one must apply for a discharge.
Priday feels deceived, the magazine wrote. “They’re selling you a dream — You can help the Ukrainian people! — but then they’re throwing you into the worst place possible in a war zone,” he said. He was shocked by the naivety of some of the mercenaries in Ukraine who had not realized the gravity of the situation. The magazine describes some of the volunteers as “gun-nuts raised on ‘Rambo’ and ‘Top Gun’ hankering for a shot at their old Cold War foe.” Priday met one man who was tired of working dead-end jobs and left for Ukraine without telling family or friends and a former pilot from Louisana who said he was “just here to shoot,” the magazine reported.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called on foreign citizens to join to fight against the Russians, creating a foreign legion military unit for such volunteers. The Russian Defence Ministry responded with a warning that foreign mercenaries in Ukraine would not have the status of combatants if they were taken prisoner.
TML Daily, posted March 23, 2022.