There is a suspicion that German extremists have been fighting in Ukraine since the beginning of the war, indicates "Deutsche Welle". According to data most of the mercenaries fight on Russia side.
There is a suspicion that German extremists have been fighting in Ukraine since the beginning of the war, indicates "Deutsche Welle". According to data from the German Interior Ministry, published by Welt am Sonntag, most of the mercenaries fight on the side of the Kremlin.
"Deutsche Welle" refers to the findings of "Welt am Sonntag". The journalists of the newspaper published a response from the Interior Ministry, which summarized the departures of "people associated with extremism or politically motivated crime" to Ukraine since the beginning of the war.
According to the ministry's information, 39 out of 61 people who went to the combat zone intended to "take part in combat operations". 27 potential mercenaries were pro-Russian and 12 were pro-Ukrainian.
"For the vast majority of these individuals, law enforcement has concrete information that they have taken part in combat activities. They include both right-wing and left-wing extremists. However, most individuals are classified as being associated with a 'foreign ideology'. Due to their lack of data, it is not possible to accurately assign to specific groups," the ministry said, quoted by the newspaper.
A spokeswoman for the German ministry stressed that participation in combat operations in Ukraine itself is not punishable, provided that these people act as part of regular armed forces or volunteers, and not as mercenaries. At the same time, mere joining the army does not protect against possible investigations in case of war crimes. When asked if there was any ongoing investigation, the Attorney General's office did not respond.
"Persons or extremists who voluntarily join the Russian armed forces or terrorist groups to take part in the invasion of Ukraine should be legally prosecuted upon their return to Germany," said CDU politician Roderich Kiesewetter, who criticized the sluggishness of law enforcement. He stressed that it should be assumed that the militants fighting on the side of the Kremlin "participated in hostilities and human rights violations".