Disinfo: Polish and Lithuanian mercenaries spotted by Luhansk militias in Eastern Ukraine


Paramilitary elements from Poland and Lithuania working for a foreign security firm arrived to an area in Eastern Ukraine to train Ukrainian troops in sabotage techniques, according to the spokesperson of the Luhansk militias, Ivan Filiponenko.


No evidence given to support this claim. The existence of paramilitary fighters or mercenaries from NATO or US-friendly countries is a recurrent narrative in Russian disinformation since at least 2014, and it prompted a diplomatic protest from Poland back then.

The allegation has been repeatedly debunked in those years, but resurfaces again and again since it is useful to try to discredit the Ukrainian army and the countries that support Kiev efforts for stabilization. Many false incidents have been attributed this ‘ghost army’, from rapes to vendettas against Ukrainian soldiers due to low morale.

See here for other disinformation cases about alleged presence of foreign mercenaries in Eastern Ukraine, from Baltic snipers to snipers from Georgia, female snipers from Poland, and even a whole NATO brigade.



  • Reported in: Issue149
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 09/05/2019
  • Language/target audience: Spanish, Castilian
  • Country: Ukraine
  • Keywords: Ukraine, Eastern Ukraine, War in Ukraine, Donbas, Foreign mercenaries


Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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