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Russia Forces African Migrants into War for Visa Renewal

Russia forces African migrants to War for Visa. News. Russia is reportedly sending thousands of migrants and foreign students, including many from Africa, to fight in the war against Ukraine in exchange for visa renewals, according to Bloomberg. European officials claim that the Kremlin is using this tactic to boost its manpower, similar to the strategy first used by the Wagner mercenary group.

The report says Russia is threatening not to extend visas for African students and young workers unless they join the military. Additionally, some Africans on work visas in Russia have been detained and given the choice between deportation or joining the fight. Some have managed to bribe officials to stay in the country without having to serve.

Moscow has also been recruiting convicts from its prisons. This practice of coercing migrants and students into battle started earlier in the war, with these troops often deployed in dangerous missions, leading to high casualty rates.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry did not respond to requests for comments. According to Ukrainian intelligence, Russia has been recruiting foreign mercenaries from at least 21 countries, offering high signing bonuses and salaries. Many of these recruits are migrants and students who were initially seeking employment in Russia but were then forced into military service.

This recruitment strategy could significantly impact the war as Russia looks to bolster its troop numbers. Despite these efforts, Russian forces have been advancing slowly in northeastern Ukraine, suffering heavy losses. The UK Ministry of Defence reported that Russia lost over 1,200 troops a day in May, the highest rate of the war, with an estimated 500,000 Russian personnel killed or wounded since the invasion began.

During a meeting with foreign media, Putin suggested that around 10,000 Russian troops are being killed or wounded monthly, claiming Ukrainian losses are even higher. Despite the lack of a breakthrough, Russia has intensified its bombing of Kharkiv, aiming to make the city uninhabitable.

Putin has avoided a full-scale mobilization, relying instead on voluntary recruitment, which has attracted tens of thousands. Meanwhile, around 400 young Nepali men have reportedly been recruited by Russia, though the actual number is likely higher. Some of Ukraine’s allies are considering sharing intelligence about foreign fighters with their respective countries.

Efforts by the Group of Seven nations to rally support for Ukraine from the Global South have faced challenges, with many countries remaining neutral amid Russian disinformation campaigns. Last year, Reuters reported that Wagner had recruited African citizens, including convicts, to fight in Ukraine.

There are currently 35,000-37,000 African students in Russia, according to Yevgeny Primakov of Rossotrudnichestvo, which promotes Russian education abroad. Annually, about 6,500 African students receive free education in Russia.