Foreign Mercenaries Allegedly Diverting Attention from Ukraine to the Israeli-Hamas Conflict
The circulation of a Ukrainian TV report claiming that foreign mercenaries previously engaged in the conflict against Russia in Ukraine are now joining the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has sparked concerns and suspicions online.
In recent days, social media platforms have been abuzz with the circulation of a Ukrainian TV report alleging that foreign mercenaries, who were previously involved in the conflict against Russia in Ukraine, are now diverting their attention to the Gaza Strip to fight against Hamas. This unexpected change in the narrative has prompted a mixture of concerns and suspicions across online communities.
The evolving Israeli-Palestinian conflict seems to be diverting global assistance and attention from the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, causing growing apprehension among Ukrainian authorities. Pro-Russian Telegram accounts have highlighted this development, raising concerns among the Ukrainian leadership. Speculations have also arisen about the potential impact on the morale of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, as foreign fighters who previously supported their cause switch their allegiance to participate in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This raises questions about whether the West is prepared to abandon Ukraine and allocate its resources to a new Middle Eastern conflict.
However, doubts surround the authenticity of the TV report. Firstly, the report lacks a TV channel logo and the name of the journalist responsible for the coverage. Additionally, the audio in the interviews remains inaudible. Crucially, the visuals in the report, although striking, fail to substantiate the claim that foreign troops have relocated from Ukraine to Israel or that NATO allies have dispatched troops to Ukraine.
An investigative reverse image search reveals that the original news report dates back to October 9, courtesy of CBS, focusing on Israel’s preparations for a ground invasion of Gaza following a significant Hamas attack. Notably, there is no mention of foreign mercenaries leaving Ukraine in the CBS report, indicating that the viral video has been manipulated by propagandists who added their own voiceover.
While there have indeed been foreign fighters involved with the Ukrainian military, such as the International Legion of Territorial Defense of Ukraine, the numbers have fluctuated. In March 2022, the Kyiv Minister of Foreign Affairs reported a surge in foreign volunteer fighter applications, reaching as high as 20,000 from 52 countries. However, there is a lack of official updates on the number of foreign legion fighters currently stationed in Ukraine. According to various media reports, the estimate has dwindled to approximately 1,500 to 2,000 fighters, most of whom serve in three specific battalions within the International Legion.
In conclusion, while the circulation of the Ukrainian TV report alleging the diversion of foreign mercenaries from Ukraine to the Israeli-Hamas conflict has caused concern, doubts surround its authenticity. The lack of verifiable information and the manipulation of visuals suggest that the video has been used for propagandist purposes. It is important to critically evaluate the sources and evidence presented before drawing conclusions about the involvement of foreign fighters in different conflicts.