Hundreds of Ethiopian ex-soldiers flocked to the gate of the Russian embassy in the capital Addis Ababa to surrender their credentials to fight alongside Russian forces in Ukraine’s war.
When one of the applicants, Corporal Tarekegn Wassie, spoke to the Anadolu Agency (AA), he said: “I heard that registration was going on at the embassy. Some said it was employment for Russian private security companies, others said it was to join “Support for the Russian army. Anyway, I’m here trying my luck.”
The corporal, who said he fought in the two-year war between Ethiopia and Eritrea from 1998 to 2000, was in a place closer to the gate in the long queue with several columns. He held his documents tightly to his chest in the middle of the crowd of men, mostly in the mid-30s and early 40s.
“I love Russia and if it gave me a better income, let it be regardless of the risks,” said Tarekegn, who is married with children who depend on him.
AA spoke to many others in the crowd, all of whom want to hide their identities for personal security reasons, but all said their motive for recruiting was more economical than anything else. They said they want a better life for their families.
However, the embassy denied that it was about recruitment. The Ethiopian government has kept quiet about the matter so far.
“Thank you for coming here to show support for Russia, but we have enough army and your services may not be needed right now,” an attaché at the embassy told the crowd at one point, apparently after the journalists’ arrival at the gate. wants to interview the Russian diplomats about the registration.
Lots of original documents came out of the embassy premises while others were collected and taken through a small room connected to the main entrance.
At least 2,072 civilians have been killed and 2,818 injured in Ukraine so far in the war that began on February 24, according to UN estimates, with the true figure believed to be much higher. More than 4.9 million Ukrainians have fled to other countries, with more than 7 million more internally displaced, according to the UN refugee agency.
At the same time, there have been reports claiming that Ukraine has sought to recruit African troops, a move that has so far met with criticism from Nigeria, Senegal and Algeria.
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