Comment by the Foreign Ministry on the involvement of Croatian mercenaries in hostilities in Ukraine

Submitted on Thu, 02/12/2015 - 00:00

Moscow is concerned and perplexed by a media statement by Vesna Pusic, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of Croatia, who confirmed that volunteers from Croatia are taking part in hostilities in Ukraine alongside Ukrainian troops. The legality of Croatian citizens’ involvement in engagements carried out by the Ukrainian military is not even called into question.

A number of Croatian citizens are reportedly members of the infamous Azov battalion, which was formed by far-right activists.

It is worth mentioning that statements on the involvement of European citizens in punitive operations conducted by the Kiev military coincide with groundless accusations against Russia on the presence of its troops on the Ukrainian territory.

We would like to reiterate in this respect that the involvement of foreign mercenaries, including from Croatia, in Ukraine’s internal conflict is unacceptable. All it does is exacerbate it further. Specifically, we would like to call the attention of Croatian authorities to the fact that today, on February 12, the Contact Group adopted a number of resolutions in Minsk on a set of measures to implement the Minsk Accords, including on the “withdrawal of foreign armed groups, military equipment and mercenaries from Ukrainian territory under OSCE’s supervision” and “the disarmament of all illegal groups.”

Russia calls on Zagreb and heads of other countries whose citizens are recruited by Ukrainian forces to put an end to such vicious practices. It is now, as the implementation of the Minsk Accords regarding normalisation of the situation in southeast Ukraine reaches an extremely important and complex stage, that such an objective is especially relevant.

February 12, 2015