Russian parliament to ask French counterpart if it knew of 'French mercenaries' in Ukraine - official

Russian parliament to ask French counterpart if it knew of
# 19 January 2024 12:04 (UTC +04:00)

The lower house of the Russian parliament, the State Duma, plans to formally ask France's National Assembly if it is aware that French mercenaries have been fighting on Ukraine's side, Vyacheslav Volodin, the Duma's chairman, said on Friday, APA reports citing Reuters.

Volodin, an ally of President Vladimir Putin, made the statement after the Russian Defence Ministry said on Wednesday that its forces had killed more than 60 foreign mercenaries, mostly French citizens, in a strike on a building in Kharkiv. It did not provide evidence to back the assertion.

France rejected the allegations, saying it was helping Ukraine defend its sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity but had no mercenaries in Ukraine "unlike certain others".

"In France, the mercenary trade is forbidden by law," Volodin wrote on the Telegram messaging app.

"It is important for us to know whether they (French lawmakers) are aware that someone, violating the law, is sending fighters to fight in Ukraine."

The Duma would consider its address to the French parliament at the next meeting of the lower chamber of parliament which is scheduled for Jan. 23, he said.

Russia announced on Thursday it had summoned the French ambassador to the Foreign Ministry over the mercenary allegations.