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Putin says Moscow ready to use Mideast fighters in Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin has backed the idea of sending volunteer fighters to Ukraine, though there are good reasons for Moscow to refrain from bringing them in from Syria and elsewhere.
LOUAI BESHARA/AFP via Getty Images

As the Russian invasion of Ukraine enters its third week, there has been increasing talk about the participation of mercenaries and volunteer fighters coming from Syria and other Muslim-majority states to fight on both sides of the conflict.

On Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin backed the idea of sending volunteer fighters to Ukraine. Speaking to Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu during a televised security council meeting, he said, “If you see that there are people who want on a voluntary basis, especially not for money, to come and help [separatists in east Ukraine], well then you need to meet them halfway and help them move to the combat zones.”

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