While the West is worried about Russian influence in Serbia, videos of mercenaries from Serbia fighting in Ukraine on the Russian side have been popping up all over social networks.
In these videos, fighters from Serbia testify about the torture they experienced at the hands of Russian officers and in one of the videos they even ask for Putin’s help.
Most Serbian soldiers are mercenaries who signed contracts with the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation and were sent to the front as part of the 119th regiment, 106th division of the regular Russian army. However, their main problem at the front is not the Ukrainian fighters, but Russian comrades-in-arms.
“We are volunteers. We came from Serbia and other countries to fight for Russia, for the Russian people. We are treated here as if we are drug addicts and alcoholics. They treat us badly. They gave us guns with only three or four ammunition rounds. Some got none. When we asked the Russians to give us machine guns, they told us that we could seize them in combat from Ukrainians. They said the same about uniforms and shoes. We didn’t get anything,” said one volunteer.
Dejan Berić, a man who organized and brought in the volunteers from Serbia, also addressed the public. He explained what happened when the Serbs complained to the commander of the 116th regiment.
“The next morning, the military police came and fired a few rounds in the air. It is dangerous to shoot in the air if you are in a trench. They literally beat the fighters who were unarmed. They seriously injured some of them by beating them in the face with machine gun butts,” he claims.
Dejan Berić later published another video in which he explained that “the problem has been solved” and that the Serbian mercenaries will be transferred from the 116th regiment to the Akhmat battalion, which is made up of Chechen fighters.
Military commentator Vlade Radulović says that all of that should serve as a severe warning to anyone contemplating fighting in Ukraine.
“When you see what words are used to address these soldiers, you might feel sorry for them. But, on the other hand, they volunteered to fight. This is the reality on the battlefield when you go to war to fight for the interests of another country,” Radulović added.
According to the Serbian Criminal Code, Serbian citizens fighting in wars abroad is punishable by imprisonment from six months to 10 years. So far, however, in practice, mostly suspended prison sentences have been imposed in these cases.
This post is also available in: Italiano