Western governments encouraging their citizens to enlist in Ukraine will be responsible for their death, the Russian Ministry of Defense said Monday, vowing to continue the strikes such as the one that destroyed the Yavorov base and show no mercy to mercenaries.
“All locations of foreign mercenaries in Ukraine are known to us,” Russian military spokesman Major-General Igor Konashenkov said in a statement on Monday. “I want to warn you again – there will be no mercy for the mercenaries, no matter where they are on the territory of Ukraine.”
Konashenkov said a number of Western governments have encouraged their citizens to fight against Russian troops as mercenaries, adding that “all further responsibility for the death of this category of foreign citizens in Ukraine rests solely with the leadership of these countries.”
“Targeted strikes will continue,” Konashenkov said, specifically referring to Sunday’s cruise missile attack on the military bases in Yavorov and nearby Starichi in western Ukraine.
According to Moscow, the missile salvo destroyed the facilities used by the “International Legion of Ukraine” and killed “up to 180 foreign fighters.”
Kiev officials said that 35 people were killed and 130 injured in the attack on the International Center for Peacekeeping and Security, the official name of the military base near Yavorov. It had been used for years by NATO personnel to train Ukrainian troops.
While Ukrainian authorities insist that no foreign fighters were killed in the strike, several British outlets have reported that three former UK special forces operatives died at Yavorov, and “many more killed within the site than has been claimed.” This has not been officially confirmed by London. Meanwhile, Washington insisted no “US troops, contractors or civilian government workers” were present at Yavorov.
Moscow sent troops into Ukraine last month, citing seven years of failure by Kiev to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements and make peace with the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Lugansk. Russia had recognized the two Donbass republics as independent states just days earlier. Kiev has accused Moscow of an unprovoked attack.