Ukrainian intelligence services report clashes between Russian mercenaries and local recruits in Donbas

9 February 2022, 12:10 PM

Clashes within the Russian proxy forces in Russian-occupied Donbas, namely between Russian mercenaries and local “volunteers,” have been reported by Ukrainian military intelligence, according to a tweet by the Defense Intelligence of Ukraine (GUR) agency on Feb. 8.

The report reads, the clashes have been due to the intensified recruitment and deployment of “Russian mercenaries,” who often come into conflict with local “volunteers” working on behalf of the occupying authorities.

Additionally, GUR stated that the Russian military leadership is now actively engaged in recruiting new members to replenish their ranks. However, the recruitment drive has been largely unsuccessful in comparison to the previous years.

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According to Ukrainian intelligence, Russian occupying forces are no longer able to find enough recruits among the local Donbas population, and are now intensely looking for potential new recruits in Russia – leading to the recent influx of mercenaries, and sparking infighting in the area.

Since the end of Oct. 2021, Russia has been massing troops to the Ukrainian borders. Russia has since deployed more than 130,000 troops and offensive weapons near the Ukrainian border and in the temporarily occupied territories, according to the latest intelligence estimate from the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine.

International media have speculated that Russia may invade Ukraine in early 2022, in an operation that could involve up to 200,000 Russian soldiers.

The Kremlin says the troop movements are an internal affair of the Russian Federation.

At the same time, Moscow has repeatedly accused Ukraine of planning “provocations,” and alleged that Kyiv plans to regain control of the occupied territories by military means. The Kremlin has failed to back up any of its allegations with evidence, however.

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