Ukraine denies citizenship to foreign mercenaries

There are many foreign citizens, including Russian nationals, in the ranks of "defenders of Ukraine." However, those who take the side of Ukraine may not count for protection in return: Ukraine refuses to naturalize the people who fight for their armed forces.

According to Ukrainian independent information news agency UNIAN, the foreigners fighting in the so-called anti-terrorist operation on Ukraine's side were promised to receive protection and citizenship from the Ukrainian authorities. Yet, mercenaries have been waiting for what had been promised to them for three years already.

Last week, Kiev denied citizenship to former Aidar Battalion fighter of Russian origin, Julia Tolopo (call sign "Valkyrie"). "I was officially denied citizenship. Thank you, Petro Poroshenko! Serving the  Ukrainian people!" the woman wrote on her Facebook page.

Tolopo is one of many in limbo. According to the head of "Your Way" public organization, Alexander Ivashkov, only four foreign volunteers have received Ukrainian citizenship during the time of hostilities in Ukraine. The last was Ilya Bogdanov - a former FSB officer, who in the summer of 2014 took the side of Ukraine and defended the Donetsk airport.

A member of the National Police of Ukraine, ATO fighter Vasyl Koryak, is skeptical about attempts to describe the position of the Ukrainian military better than it actually is. "Some like saying: "We would take Rostov in the afternoon and then move behind the Urals in the evening." This is nonsense. Russia is a huge country, both in terms of the population and the territory. They have many military men, and we can not even expel them from our territory, jut mathematically," he said.


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