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Croatians Fight Side-by-Side With Kiev Forces in Eastern Ukraine

© AFP 2021 / LIONEL BONAVENTURECroatian army soldiers are lined up during the annual military parade in Karlovac, some 50 kilometers from capital Zagreb
Croatian army soldiers are lined up during the annual military parade in Karlovac, some 50 kilometers from capital Zagreb - Sputnik International
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Croatian nationals are fighting in Ukraine alongside Kiev’s armed forces, Croatia’s Foreign Minister Vesna Pusic confirmed on Wednesday.

Soldiers of Ukrainian army ride on tanks in the port city of Mariupol, southeastern Ukraine, Friday, Sept. 5, 2014 - Sputnik International
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Croats are fighting in Ukraine but only as part of the government forces and are in no way involved with any of the paramilitary units active in the country’s troubled east, Croatia’s Foreign Minister Vesna Pusic told the journalists in Zagreb on Wednesday.

"As far as I know, there are Croatian soldiers in Ukraine who have joined the Ukrainian army," Pusic said.

She did not specify exactly how many of her compatriots were actually involved in the hostilities though.

Ukrainian military vehicles drive towards Debaltseve on the outskirts of Artemivsk, eastern Ukraine, Sunday, Feb. 8, 2015 - Sputnik International
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In earlier reports, Croatian media wrote that dozens of Croats had joined the Azov volunteer battalion, with the Croatian News Agency HINA saying that half of the battalion’s members were indeed foreigners.

On Monday, pro-independence fighters claimed there might be some foreign mercenaries among the pro-Ukrainian combatants who have been encircled near the city of Debaltseve between Donetsk and Luhansk as talks in English, Polish, French and Flemish languages had been intercepted.

Ukrainian government soldiers sit on top of their vehicle driving on a road stretching away from the town of Artemivsk, Ukraine - Sputnik International
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In February, the Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) forces found ammunition used exclusively in NATO countries that the Ukrainian Army is not usually equipped with. DPR authorities have repeatedly claimed finding US-made weapons in the Donetsk Airport, previously occupied by the Ukrainian military.

NATO countries are currently considering providing lethal weapons to Kiev, a move that some European countries, including France and Germany, are opposed to.

The clashes between Kiev and eastern Ukrainian forces intensified in recent weeks, with the warring sides trading blame for numerous shelling attacks in eastern Ukraine. More than 5,000 people died since the start of the military conflict in eastern Ukraine last April, according to the UN.

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