: U.N. confirms 'foreign armed actors' in Donbas

13:25 Mar. 24, 2016

U.N. confirms 'foreign armed actors' in Donbas

New army recruits of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic take the oath in Lenin Square on June 21, 2014 in Donestk, eastern Ukraine (Getty Images)

Preliminary findings by the U.N. Working Group on the use mercenaries on his Mission to Ukraine

Foreign armed actors in Donbas range from volunteers to paid-service men and women, and from independent militants to professional militaries, according to preliminary findings by the United Nations Working Group on mercenaries.

Read also Since the Donbas war burst out nearly 3,000 Ukrainians were released

"The Working Group was informed by the authorities of Ukraine of at least 176 identified foreigners serving in armed groups of the self-proclaimed 'Donetsk People's Republic' and the self-proclaimed 'Luhansk People's Republic.' These reportedly include large numbers from the Russian Federation, Serbia, Belarus, France, and Italy, among others," the report says.

The Working Group also received data that foreign women have also been combatants in the armed conflict, in much smaller numbers.

"What is particularly concerning is that with the diverse array of foreign armed actors who joined the conflict, reports on human rights violations by these individuals have not been properly investigated or brought to justice," Group delegate, human rights expert Patricia Arias said.

Read also Radio Liberty: Moldova indicts, sentences individuals who fought as mercenaries in Ukraine

In her words, foreign fighters have been prosecuted for various crimes including terrorist-related offences, but no prosecutions have been in relation to the human rights violations that took place.

The Working Group did not find any particular data on private military companies, which are currently prohibited by Ukrainian law.

Read also Russia says two captured Russian soldiers in Ukraine are 'mercenaries

It was informed that only private security companies operated in Ukraine, and that the government oversees their activities. While a licensing regime regulates private security companies, the operation of private military companies is currently prohibited.

The Working Group strongly recommends the regulation of this sector in the interest of preventing potential human rights violations.

Reporting by UNIAN

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