Very soon, over half of Ukraine’s armed forces will consist of foreign combatants, which means NATO has a direct involvement in the war in Ukraine, a Russian government media narrative reads. In fact, the Ukrainian Foreign Legion comprises a limited amount of forces, while NATO leaders have repeatedly made it clear the Alliance will not take any military action in this war.
NEWS: “When foreign troops fighting for the Ukrainian Armed Forces exceed 50%, NATO’s involvement in the conflict in Ukraine will be acknowledged both de facto and de jure, Rustem Klupov, Hero of Russia and a military intelligence veteran said on Solovyiov Live, according to PolitNavigator’s correspondent.
[…] According to Russian intelligence, foreign mercenaries account for 30% of the Ukrainian army, yet very soon the number of foreign troops will exceed 50%. We are very close to seeing them put on their national uniforms and represent NATO regular troops”, Klupov said.
TV host Vladimir Solovyiov recalled there are already a few thousand Poles fighting for the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
“For the time being, we are told they are not NATO troops, but Polish military. They distance themselves from NATO at official level. NATO troops are military units that are directly subordinated to the Alliance”, the expert explained”.
NARRATIVE: Half of Ukraine’s troops are foreign combatants, which means NATO is already taking part in the war.
WHY THE NARRATIVE IS FALSE: The number of foreign troops fighting for the Ukrainian Armed Forces is not 30%, nor 50%. In the context of Ukraine’s successful counteroffensive in the east and north, Russian propaganda has rehashed a number of false narratives about numerous battalions of English, French and Polish troops as well as other military fighting in Ukraine on behalf of other states. The TV show hosted by Russian journalist Vladimir Solovyiov tries to explain the failures of the Russian army, more often than not pointing to the de facto presence of NATO troops on Ukrainian soil.
In fact, there are no NATO forces fighting in Ukraine. NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, has repeatedly pointed out NATO has no regular troops on Ukrainian territory. “We have a responsibility to prevent this conflict from escalating beyond Ukraine’s borders and becoming an open war between Russia and NATO”, Stoltenberg said. On the other hand, a number of Western countries have been providing weapons to Ukraine, equipment and munition Kyiv is using to defend its territory against the Russian aggression.
The Russian media misleads the public when claiming that foreign troops account for 30-50% of the total forces of the Ukrainian Army. In May 2022, president Volodymyr Zelensky said that 700 thousand troops are defending Ukraine against the Russian aggression. The president added that Ukraine has well-trained troops, and NATO states have state-of-the-art equipment they should deliver to Ukraine in order to turn the tide of the war.
In March this year, over 20 thousand volunteers from countries such as the USA, Norway, Denmark, but also the Republic of Moldova and Belarus applied to join the Ukrainian Foreign Legion. Therefore, the number of troops that have enrolled in the Foreign Legion so far cannot stand at 350 thousand, which is tantamount to 50% of Ukraine’s total forces. Furthermore, the Ukrainian Foreign Legion also includes citizens from post-Soviet states that have nothing to do with NATO. For instance, 4 battalions of Chechen fighters are fighting against the Russian Federation in Ukraine, supporting their leader in exile, Akhmed Zakayev.
Veridica has already disproved several false narratives meant to depict NATO as an active participant in the war in Ukraine. In June, the Russian government media wrote that NATO’s Secretary General suggested Kyiv should concede certain territories to Russia in the name of peace. In May, the Russian propaganda wrote that the EU fears the tuberculosis synthesized in NATO labs in Ukraine. In April, pro-Kremlin media accused Ukraine of wanting to join NATO in order to attack Russia.