“If Ukraine decides to pay me a good amount of money, which I cannot earn here, I will definitely go there and fight,” explains Kimanzi Nashon, a Kenyan student who lives in the capital Nairobi. Nashon hopes to earn a lot of money this way.
“When we go there, after the war is over, before anything has happened, I will be back in Kenya and I will be a millionaire,” adds the young student.
Nashon is not the only one to feed the idea of going to fight in Ukraine.
Béatrice Kaluki is unemployed, for her this war represents an opportunity not to be missed.
“If an opportunity arose to go and fight in Ukraine as a mercenary, I would not hesitate“, she explained to the DW.
“I would rather die at the front in Ukraine knowing that my family will be compensated even after my death, than die of depression in Kenya because of the high unemployment rate!”, confides Béatrice who thinks that others would do the same if the chance were to arise. Because according to her “they would rather die there fighting than die of poverty in their countries.”
Most of these young people are reacting to the appeal launched last week by the Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy. The latter called on like-minded people and his people to defend his country against the invasion of Russia.
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According to Ryan Cummings, director of Signal Risk, a security risk management consultancy based in South Africa, the Ukrainian president could take advantage of the difficult socio-economic conditions in Africa to attract African fighters to his country.
However, African countries have strongly condemned Ukraine’s call for Africans to join the “international legion” against the Russian invasion.
A communication war on social networks
Thus, last Monday, Nigeria issued a warning on Twitter to its citizens, telling them that it would not tolerate any recruitment of mercenaries to fight alongside Ukrainian forces against Russian troops.
Senegal also expressed its dissatisfaction with the Ukrainian government, saying that at least 36 people in Senegal were ready to go to fight in Ukraine.
Reread: Going to fight in Ukraine, a difficult decision
The Senegalese Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed its astonishment following the publication by the Ukrainian Embassy in Dakar of a call on its Facebook page inviting foreign citizens to join the Ukrainian forces in the defense of the country against Russian invasion.
Social networks have also turned into a battleground between supporters of Ukraine and Russia.
It should also be noted that Ukraine announced to the United Nations the repatriation of its 250 blue helmets deployed in the DRC. Apart from this country, Ukraine is also militarily present in other United Nations peacekeeping missions around the world: 16 soldiers in South Sudan, 12 in Mali, 5 in Cyprus, 4 in Abyei in Sudan and 3 in Kosovo, according to the UN.