France has categorically denied Russia’s assertion that French mercenaries were among those killed in a recent strike in Kharkiv, Ukraine.
The Russian Ministry of Defence had claimed on Wednesday that its forces targeted a temporary deployment point of foreign fighters, allegedly comprising several dozen French mercenaries.
The French Ministry for Foreign Affairs swiftly issued a statement on Thursday, rejecting the accusations and clarifying France’s role in the ongoing conflict.
“France helps Ukraine with supplies of military material and military training, in full compliance with international law, in order to help Ukraine in its fight to defend its sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity,” the statement read.
It further emphasized that France had no mercenaries deployed in Ukraine or elsewhere, taking a swipe at unspecified “others.”
The rift deepened as Russia summoned the French ambassador to Moscow, Pierre Levy, to its foreign ministry to discuss the alleged presence of French mercenaries.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova was quoted by state news agency TASS, saying, “In connection with the destruction by the Russian armed forces of a temporary deployment point of foreign fighters in Kharkiv, among whom were several dozen Frenchmen, the French ambassador has been summoned to the Foreign Ministry.”
The Russian Ministry of Defence had announced on Wednesday that its forces conducted a precision strike on a building in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, claiming it housed French mercenaries.
The statement asserted that more than 60 people were killed in the strike, although no evidence was provided to support this claim.
Kharkiv region governor Oleh Syniehubov contradicted Moscow’s narrative, stating that there were no military targets in the area struck by Russia.
Local authorities reported that 17 civilians were wounded in the attack, raising concerns about the impact on non-combatants.
This latest development adds a new layer of complexity to the already tense situation in Ukraine. The conflict has seen an increase in international involvement, with various nations supporting Ukraine in its efforts to resist Russian aggression.
Accusations of foreign mercenaries being targeted mark a dangerous turn, with the potential to escalate the conflict beyond the borders of Ukraine.
The French denial of involvement is consistent with their stated position of providing support within the bounds of international law.
The assertion that the strike targeted foreign mercenaries raises questions about the evidence and the nature of the alleged deployment point.
The lack of transparency on the part of the Russian Ministry of Defence regarding the identities and affiliations of those killed only adds to the scepticism surrounding their claims.
As diplomatic channels buzz with activity, the international community will be closely watching for further developments.
The incident underscores the need for a transparent and impartial investigation into the events surrounding the strike in Kharkiv, as conflicting narratives threaten to exacerbate an already volatile situation in the region.
This article was created using automation technology and was thoroughly edited and fact-checked by one of our editorial staff members