Zimbabwean Soldiers Desert to Join Ukrainian Army
19 March 2024
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By Diplomatic Correspondent – Russian intelligence has revealed that Zimbabwean soldiers who deserted the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) have been sighted in the Ukrainian Army, sparking international concern.

However, Russia has labelled these Zimbabwean soldiers as mercenaries, casting a shadow over their actions.

Allegations have surfaced regarding the exodus of hundreds of soldiers from the ZNA, citing grievances such as inadequate pay and harassment as primary reasons for desertion.

It’s reported that Zimbabwean soldiers struggle to subsist on a meager salary of less than US$300 per month, pushing them to seek alternative opportunities abroad.

These soldiers, potentially among those identified by Russian intelligence, may have found their way into the Ukrainian Army, seeking better prospects.

ZimEye could not get a comment from ZNA spokesperson Colonel Alphios Makotore before publishing this article.

According to NewsDay, the number of Zimbabwean mercenaries allegedly involved could be more substantial, potentially reaching up to ten individuals.
Among these mercenaries, three are believed to be former members of the Zimbabwean military.

The conflict in Ukraine, which escalated with the Russian military operation starting on February 24, 2022, has attracted a significant influx of foreign mercenaries.

The total count of these combatants entering Ukraine has now surpassed 13,000, with the Russian Army claiming to have neutralized nearly 6,000 of them.
The Russian Ministry of Defence asserts its vigilance in monitoring and documenting all foreign mercenaries participating in combat activities in Ukraine.

A substantial number of foreign mercenaries originate from various countries, including Poland, the United States, Georgia, Canada, the United Kingdom, Romania, France, and Germany.
Additionally, 249 mercenaries come from 14 African nations, with a presence in Ukraine dating back to the conflict’s onset two years ago.

Regrettably, 103 of these African fighters have lost their lives in the ongoing conflict, with Nigeria, Algeria, and South Africa contributing the most significant numbers.

Significantly, Zimbabwe and South Africa stand as the only Southern African nations with mercenaries actively engaged in Ukraine.