Police in the Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv say they have dismantled an illegal network of human traffickers who were helping draft dodgers flee Ukraine for a reported EUR 6,000 a head.
The footage shows the Ukrainian police arresting suspected members of the human trafficking network.
The images were obtained from the Mykolayiv Police on Saturday, 21st January, along with a statement saying that the suspects were charging EUR 6,000 (GBP 5,268) per person for a “ticket” out of Ukraine.
They also said that the suspects “helped men of draft age cross the state border of Ukraine by forging documents for departure. The defendants face up to nine years in prison for the crime.”
It is currently illegal for Ukrainian men of draft age to leave the country.
The suspects are residents of the Mykolaiv and Odesa regions, according to Ukrainian media. None of them have been named, although one is said to be 35 years old. The investigation is ongoing.
Russia invaded Ukraine on 24th February 2022 in what the Kremlin is still calling a “special military operation”. Today marks the 334th day of the war.
The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported that between 24th February 2022 and 23rd January 2023, Russia had lost about 121,480 personnel, 3,150 tanks, 6,276 armoured combat vehicles, 2,146 artillery units, 447 multiple launch rocket systems, 220 air defence systems, 287 warplanes, 277 helicopters, 1,894 drones, 749 cruise missiles, 18 warships, 4,936 motor vehicles and fuel tankers, and 193 units of special equipment.
Russia has claimed that its casualties have been much lower but provides infrequent updates on its latest figures.
Annalena Baerbock, Germany’s Foreign Minister, has said that her country will not “stand in the way” of Poland sending Leopard tanks to Ukraine.
Speaking to French television station LCI, Baerbock was asked what Germany’s reaction would be if Poland sent its Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, and she replied: “For the moment the question has not been asked, but if we were asked we would not stand in the way.”
Olaf Scholz, the German Chancellor, has said that Germany will “continue to support Ukraine – for as long and as comprehensively as necessary.”
He added: “Together, as Europeans – in defence of our European peace project.”
Poland has said that it is ready to deliver 14 Leopard tanks to Kyiv but added that it is waiting for “a clear statement” from the German government.
Mateusz Morawiecki, Poland’s Prime Minister, has criticised Germany’s failure to supply Ukraine with tanks.
Morawiecki said: “Germany’s attitude is unacceptable. It has been almost a year since the war began. Innocent people are dying every day.”
French President Emmanuel Macron said on Sunday that he has not ruled out sending Leclerc tanks to Ukraine.
Macron said: “As for the Leclercs, I have asked the Ministry of Defence to work on it. Nothing is excluded.”
Russia has claimed that it has made advances in Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia region after months of stalemate, according to local officials installed by Russia.
The Russian Ministry of Defence claimed: “During offensive operations in the direction of Zaporizhzhia, units of the eastern military district took up more advantageous ground and positions.”
The head of the Norwegian Armed Forces, Eirik Kristoffersen, has estimated that 180,000 Russian troops have been killed or wounded since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine last February and that 100,000 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed or wounded, with 30,000 civilians killed. It is unclear how the numbers were calculated.