Vladimir Putin is not just sending Russians to war; the Russian leader is also seeking recruits from other European countries.
According to The Guardian, Russia is recruiting soldiers from Serbia, a country that has had EU candidate status since 2012.
The British newspaper revealed a document containing a leaked list of recruited Serbs, exposing a brutal plan from the Kremlin to replenish its forces, which appear to be entirely depleted after a year and a half of warfare.
A specific recruitment program
During the summer, a specific recruitment program for Serbs was even developed. The leader of this initiative is Davor Savičić, a Serb with ties to the Wagner Group, who fought for Russia during the annexation of Crimea in 2014.
"We are now officially signing a contract with the Russian Ministry of Defense," Savičić openly stated in a Russian TV interview in August, according to The Guardian.
After Russia's invasion, the Putin regime introduced several laws aimed at attracting foreign citizens to enlist for Russia. "Most of the foreign volunteers in the Russian army are from Serbia," claims Davor Savičić.
According to information obtained by the BBC, Savičić plans to recruit over 1,000 Serbian citizens for the war. The exact number of Serbs who have joined the war on the Russian side remains unclear, but testimonies indicate that at least 60-70 Serbian men are listed.
Serbian Defense Minister Warns Citizens
Serbia's Defense Minister, Miloš Vučević, has warned his citizens against joining the Russian army, and since then, several nationalists have been indicted.
"The risks of prosecution for those who have gone to Russia and returned to Serbia are very high," says Viktor Zaplatin, a Russian war veteran who recruited Serbian soldiers in 2014.
The veteran added,
"There have always been volunteers from Serbia in Russia. That means there are volunteers there now, but the number and extent to which they participate is an organizational secret."