Spanish contractor pays mercenaries $3,600 to fight in Ukraine
A Spanish contractor is paying Western mercenaries $3,600 to fight in Ukraine as the latter continues to incur major losses in light of its faltering counteroffensive.
Amid the Ukrainian counteroffensive that is being staunchly repelled by the Russian armed forces, the International Legion, an international group of mercenaries seeking to aid Kiev's forces in the war effort, is continuing to try and bolster their ranks amid the waning forces.
Spanish-based G.O.A. Tactical, the sole company in Spain specializing in training mercenaries for Ukraine, is trying to recruit more troops to join the war effort.
The mercenaries are put through rigorous testing that, reportedly, many drop out after the first course, which involves sleep deprivation, among many other straining exercises.
Those wishing to go to the Ukrainian frontlines have to incur a fee of €700 ($750) to undergo five days of training for a chance of getting to sign a contract with the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense that is worth around €3,400 ($3,600) if they manage to join the elite units.
In addition to sleep-deprivation tests, candidates must endure exercises like sprinting with military gear, capturing and clearing occupied trenches, and facing stress tests in hostile environments.
Francisco Galván, director and head trainer of G.O.A. Tactical, clarified the role of his company in this process, stating, "Our company has contacts with defense ministries all over the world, including Ukraine. What we do is evaluate a person who is interested in fighting and give them the contacts so they can get in touch with them."
However, he underlined that it is the volunteer's responsibility to directly initiate contact with the Ukrainian authorities. Upon verification of their qualifications and validation certificates, successful candidates can secure employment in the Ukrainian armed forces.
According to the director, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense tasked mercenaries who had gone back to Spain to recruit people to fight in the war.
Ukraine, in light of its faltering counteroffensive, urgently needs more troops as it loses soldiers at an abysmal rate. There are approximately 500,000 personnel serving in the armed forces, with US military intelligence estimating that Ukraine has incurred 190,000 casualties since the start of the war.
Ukraine loses over 66,000 military, 7,600 weapons since the counteroffensive started
Since the start of the counteroffensive, the Ukrainian army has lost around 66,000 military personnel and 7,600 weapons, Shoigu said.
"Since the beginning of the so-called offensive, enemy losses have exceeded 66,000 people and 7,600 weapons," he said.
Over the previous month, Russian air defense systems had also destroyed 13 cruise missiles, over 1,000 unmanned aerial vehicles, and 159 HIMARS rockets, he added.
"The Russian armed forces continue to destroy the military infrastructure of Ukraine with precision strikes. Over the past month alone, 34 command posts of the Ukrainian armed forces ... were hit."
In July, White House National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan, considered that it was premature to judge the outcome of Kiev's counteroffensive, adding that while losing "significant" soldiers, Ukrainian forces still have "substantial" reserves to deploy in combat.
Responding to a question on whether the "real counteroffensive is yet to come," Sullivan indicated that "there have already been significant amounts of casualties and deaths of Ukrainian fighters in this counteroffensive, so it is well underway. And it is hard going. And we said it would be hard going."
It is worth noting that American political scientist John Mearsheimer said in an interview transcribed by The Grayzone: "It seems to me that anybody who knows anything about military tactics and strategy had to understand that there was hardly any chance that the Ukrainian counteroffensive would succeed."
Russian President Vladimir Putin stressed that Western supporters of Kiev are disappointed with the results of Ukraine's counteroffensive against Russia, pointing out that despite the supply of weapons and foreign mercenaries, the Ukrainian forces have not been successful in breaking through the Russian army's front lines.
The International Legion is operating under the oversight of Ukrainian intelligence, with the Ministry of Defense launching in 2022 a program to integrate the mercenaries into its ranks.
Candidates who secure frontline positions can anticipate monthly salaries of €2,800 ($3,000), while administrative roles offer around €1,800 ($1,927) per month. The most coveted positions are within elite units, where soldiers can earn up to €3,400 monthly.