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AKIPRESS.COM - Some media outlets in Ukraine have charged that Central Asians are fighting among pro-Russian separatists in the country’s east, EurasiaNet reported.
The most recent fodder for the rumor mill was a video interview, posted July 8 on YouTube, where a man describing himself as a native of Ashgabat, Turkmenistan’s capital, explained why he was fighting with the separatists. The video, however, was removed later due to “constant infringement of a copyright.”
The man in camouflage, whose identity could not be independently verified, was standing before a military vehicle and appeared to be holding a weapon. “I decided that the weak should be defended,” he explained. He said he was not paid but was fighting because of what his interlocutor described as his “sense of injustice.” He vowed to fight “until the end of the war.”
In recent months, several Uzbeks have also reportedly appeared among the separatists. On June 22, Reuters published a picture of a man carrying a Kalashnikov assault rifle who was identified as "Bakhtiyor” from Uzbekistan.
Authorities in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan have not commented on the allegations.
In June Kazakhstan’s Foreign Ministry denied reports its citizens were fighting in eastern Ukraine and pledged to investigate. “We don't have any information now. As for these rumors and assumptions on the alleged mass participation of Kazakh citizens [in fighting in Ukraine], we've come across this [such allegations] during the conflicts in the Caucasus and Trans-Caucasus,” Deputy Foreign Minister Yerzhan Ashikbayev said in June. “Such information appears frequently but it doesn't get confirmed or it turns out to be about citizens of other states who were simply born in Kazakhstan.”