The Russian newspaper “Izvestia” published a report in which he spoke of some foreign parties trying to take advantage of the military operation carried out by the Russian forces within Ukrainian territory.
And the newspaper said, in its report translated by “Arabi 21”, that some foreign parties took advantage of the fact that they were at the scene of the fighting and started collecting donations through social networking sites at a time when non-profit organizations are struggling to secure government grants. It is difficult to determine the destination of this financial flow, especially in view of the inability of donors to determine whether their donations were directed to meet the needs of civilians or were used for purposes such as bringing in mercenaries. or transferred to the assets of fraudsters. .
Since the beginning of the Russian military operation inside Ukrainian territory, dozens of European NGOs have sent their personnel to Ukraine. All of these organizations justified their presence in the area by their desire to provide assistance to the population through the distribution of basic food. But looking at the structure of these organizations and looking at their staff record raises many questions.
The presence of members of the Swiss NGO “22 Wildlife” led by German Philippe Der, a former commander of the German sniper division and a participant in the Iraq and Afghanistan missions within the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, has raised many doubts arise. According to the information received, the organization was specialized in combating poaching and training of South African soldiers, but since March 2, its members have moved to Ukraine. It also heads an institution that specializes in investigations and the provision of security services.
The newspaper stated that this organization includes people who received good military training who accompanied a monastery during his visit to Ukraine, including a veteran named Marcel who worked in the German army and received a medal after his participation to the International Assistance Forces to establish security in Afghanistan. On social media, NGO employees use pseudonyms, but after a glance at their pages, it appears that they are gun trainers and soldiers, some of whom have combat experience in hotspots.
Speaking about why he is currently in Ukraine, Philip Deere said: “Many of the organization’s employees, including me, are former fighters who volunteered without receiving anything in return. I know the Russians are worried about the presence of military personnel like us here, but we do not plan to take part in military operations. ”
According to Philip, while in Ukraine, his organization is only involved in charitable work. And Philip continued, “We started buying medicine that cost about $ 300,000, while the total amount of cash donations was no more than $ 20,000.” Deer also launched a fundraising campaign on his page to support his organization’s mission in Ukraine and raise materials and financial assistance on the “People in Enniform” platform.
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Political scientist Christoph Herstel, in turn, finds it difficult to determine the fate of the aid collected, and excludes the possibility that donors know whether they have provided funds for humanitarian aid or to provide for military needs due to the lack of transparency. According to Herstel, these organizations often receive support from official authorities.
“Currently, these organizations are looking for conditions that will enable them to be present in Ukraine and in some way participate in countering the Russian operation,” warns political science professor Kirill Kokesh.
The newspaper reported that 47-year-old U.S. soldier James Vasquez, a veteran of the U.S. military, was preparing to fight with Ukrainian forces after his Twitter followers secured his travel expenses. At the fundraiser, Vásquez tweeted: “I decided to go to Ukraine and fight with the Ukrainian army.”
On March 4, Vásquez set up his account in the Venmo payment service to collect donations, explaining: “The cost of the trip is a financial burden for me and my family.” On March 15, he posted a video of his home explaining that he was ready to leave at night. He then published photos documenting his presence on the Polish border and photos with people in military uniforms.
The fighter has long complained about the publication of photos of weapons and about fake pages bearing his name, asking for money and spreading false stories about his life. On March 25, Vásquez revealed that money is needed to buy food, hygiene items and ammunition. Interacting with this, some transfers were made to his account while the Europeans advised him to open a PayPal account.
Restaurant owner from Minsk
At the end of March, the owner of a restaurant in Minsk named Vadim Prokopyev announced the launch of the formation of the Belarusian regiment “Pagonia” as part of the Foreign Legion in Ukraine. In a video posted on his YouTube channel, Prokopyev noted the need for volunteers and announced a fundraising campaign on all of his social media accounts. On April 3, he withdrew the funds and then announced the dissolution of the “Bagonia” regiment due to a conflict with the Belarusian Kastos Kalinovsky battalion. After that, Prokopyev disappeared and posted the last video clip on his channel a month ago.
Corps assisted by donations
On April 5 this year, Kiev announced the creation of a corps of Ukrainian armed forces, allegedly composed of Russian military personnel. During a press conference of the official authorities in Kiev, a banner with bank card numbers and a bitcoin wallet was displayed.
The newspaper quoted the former director-general of the United Nations office in Geneva, Sergei Ordzonikidze, as saying that the desire of some parties to make money under any circumstances exacerbates the existing crisis, and believes that arms-producing companies share the revenue who under these circumstances with countries and that the United States, by realizing this The stunt has managed to make a lot of money since the First World War. Ordzonikidze believes that NGOs, mercenaries or fraudsters are also trying to take advantage of the current situation to their advantage and make a profit.
Ordzonikidze pointed out at the end of the report the need to be careful and not fall into the traps of NGOs, explaining that donations only to large, well-known structures ensure that donations are not used for private interests.