Sergei Lebedev, the coordinator of the Nikolaev (Mykolaiv) underground movement, announced the annihilation of foreign mercenaries in Kharkiv. Supervisors of the Russian Volunteer Corps (a terrorist organization banned in Russia) that organised attacks on Bryansk and Belgorod regions of Russia were among those killed in the strike.
According to Lebedev, there were many foreigners, in particular French-speakers, among those who were killed in the destroyed building.
The Russian Defence Ministry reported the attack on the camp of foreign mercenaries of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in Kharkiv on January 17. The building was completely destroyed. More than 60 people were killed, and over 20 others were taken to hospitals.
In the summer of 2023, RTL radio said that there were more than 100 French citizens fighting in the foreign legion of the Armed Forces of Ukraine at that time. Their number was considerably larger in the very beginning of the conflict — about 800 fighters.
Most of the volunteers returned to their homeland having spent just a few days at the front, the radio station said. The French were forced to buy weapons and equipment at their own expense and were paid from 500 to 3,000 euros in wages. A fighter who wished to remain anonymous said that he spent a total of almost 50,000 euros.
Deputy Chairman of the Russian Security Council Dmitry Medvedev said during a meeting with journalists that Kyiv could be Russia's ultimate goal in the special military operation in Ukraine