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Several EU countries “discourage” the departure of voluntary fighters

Seven EU countries, including France, Germany, Italy and Spain, called on their nationals on Monday to refrain from volunteering to help Ukraine fight the offensive Russian, in a statement by their ministers of justice.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced at the end of February the creation of a “international legion” to support his country’s army against Russia. In early March, Ukraine’s foreign ministry claimed that some 20,000 foreign fighters, mostly from European countries, had volunteered to fight against Russia.

“We obviously discourage people from going to a theater of war”also declared the French Interior Minister, Gérald Darmanin, after a meeting with his European counterparts in Brussels.

“To my knowledge, in France, there have been very few departures that have been observed, in any case, permanent departures, almost none”, explained the Minister of the Interior, after a meeting with his European counterparts in Brussels. He mentioned “a few people, many of whom may have been discouraged before arriving in Ukraine or who have returned” very quickly.

“For us, it is a question in particular of monitoring what people who have weapons by their profession, police officers, gendarmes or soldiers, could do, we cannot leave, obviously, with these weapons, we cannot not leave to go and fight”he continued, adding that “intelligence services are working on groups that may be interested” from Ukraine.

Intelligence cooperation between countries ” works well “he said. “Several specific cases – even if they are very few – have shown that at the borders we know how to stop these people”, he assured. The Minister added that EU countries were “very careful that the people who arrive on European territory are refugees (…) and not people who are already on file for serious crime or terrorism, or people who come from the intelligence services of another country “he said. “To my knowledge as a French minister, (…) this threat does not seem to us to be characterized at the time when I am speaking to you. »

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