Italian police arrest six people suspected of recruiting mercenaries to fight in Donbas
Italy's Carabinieri have uncovered an organization that recruited mercenaries to participate in Russia's hybrid invasion of Donbas and arrested six persons involved, Italy's la Repubblica newspaper reported on Wednesday.
The operation was coordinated by the Prosecutor's Office in Genoa (Liguria region). Arrests were made in Milan, as well as in the province of Avellino in southern Italy and Parma in the north of the country. The prosecutor's office issued arrest warrants on charges of "recruiting mercenaries and participating in a military conflict abroad."
Carabinieri searched belongings of another seven persons.
The publication notes that the investigation of the prosecutor's office concerns a total of 15 people. Among those arrested are a citizen of Albania and a citizen of Moldova.
Initially, the investigation involved ultra-right activists in Liguria. As a result, la Repubblica says the Carabinieri traced an organization engaged in the recruitment and financing of mercenaries, who later had to participate in the conflict in the Donbas on the side of Russia-led forces in the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics.
According to the Associated Press, there are three more people on the wanted list.
"Some of the suspects had ties with a commander of a neo-Nazi paramilitary unit called "Rusich," which operates in the Ukrainian Donbas region," the Associated Press said.
In early July this year, the Chief Military Prosecutor of Ukraine, Anatoly Matios, said that Kyiv had transferred to the International Criminal Court lists of all foreigners who participated in Russia's invasion of eastern Ukraine. He said then there were fighters from Serbia, Italy, Spain, Albania and other countries. The list contained 700 names.
"There are many of them, they are called companies, platoons, in total - several hundred people," Matios said.