FACT CHECK: Are Thousands Of Nigerian Mercenaries Going To Ukraine?

Elias Atienza | Fact Check Reporter

A video shared on Facebook claims at least 5,000 Nigerian mercenaries and 200 Nigerian soldiers are going to Ukraine to fight Russia.

Verdict: False

There is no evidence Nigeria is sending soldiers or mercenaries to Ukraine. A spokesperson for the Embassy of Ukraine in Nigeria said there are no Nigerians going to fight in Ukraine.

Fact Check:

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy stated over 16,000 foreigners have registered for Ukraine’s International Legion since the conflict in his country began, Reuters reported. At the same time, Russian President Vladimir Putin has approved the use of volunteer foreign fighters on the Russian side, according to EuroNews.

A video shared on Facebook shows footage of armed men conducting military training and is paired with a caption that reads, “Nigeria Sends Over 5,500 Military Forces to Ukraine.” Audio in the video states “at least 5,000 mercenaries and 200 special forces from Nigeria have decided to enlist in Ukraine,” citing the Ukrainian Embassy in Nigeria as the source of the information.

Check Your Fact did not find any credible news reports about Nigerian mercenaries or soldiers deploying to fight in Ukraine. The Ukrainian International Legion’s website does not have any information about Nigeria or Nigerian volunteers. There are likewise no press releases from the Embassy of Ukraine in Nigeria announcing the deployment of Nigerian troops or mercenaries in Ukraine.

“Zero Nigerians are going to fight for Ukraine,” said a spokesperson for the Embassy of Ukraine in Nigeria in an email to Check Your Fact. (FACT CHECK: Has Steven Seagal Joined Russian Troops In Ukraine?)

Nigeria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a March 7 press release on Twitter stating it would not “tolerate” the recruitment of Nigerian citizens as mercenaries.

“Nigeria discourages the use of mercenaries anywhere in the world and will not tolerate the recruitment, in Nigeria, of Nigerians as mercenaries to fight in Ukraine or anywhere else in the world,” reads part of the press release. The release does note that “a number” of citizens had approached the embassy and expressed their willingness to deploy to Ukraine.

Elias Atienza

Fact Check Reporter
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