NewsRussian forces capture Colombian ex-cop mercenary fighting in Ukraine

Russian forces capture Colombian ex‑cop mercenary fighting in Ukraine

Colombian caught by Russians. He appeared on camera.
Colombian caught by Russians. He appeared on camera.
Images source: © X

4:11 PM EDT, June 6, 2024

On Thursday (June 6), the Russian Ministry of Defense announced that they had captured a Colombian man who allegedly fought as a mercenary on the side of Ukraine. The Russians posted a video online in which a visibly beaten man explains what he did in the Ukrainian army.

According to the Russians, the captured man is Angel Cardenas Montilla, a 33-year-old from Cali, a city in western Colombia. He is a former police officer and father of four children.

Angel Cardenas Montilla arrived in Ukraine after seeing an advertisement on TikTok inviting mercenaries to fight against Russia, the Russian Ministry of Defense said.

The circumstances and location where the man was captured were not disclosed. The Russians posted a several-minute-long video in which the Colombian describes the recruitment process.

Captured Colombian fought in the war in Ukraine

In the video, Montilla speaks in Spanish. He claims that he underwent minimal combat training in Ukraine. Within a week, he was taught how to throw grenades, trained at a shooting range, and familiarized himself with Ukrainian army procedures. He also says he received a uniform, weapon, bulletproof vest, helmet, gloves, and a kettle.

I belonged to the 204th Battalion, from where I was transferred to the 59th Brigade. In Colombia, I served in the military police. (...) I came here to fulfill dreams, and it turned into a nightmare - says the Colombian.

Cardenas Montilla, who has visible bruises on his face and a swollen eyelid, said he is the only survivor out of the nine Colombians he fought with. In the video, he urged his compatriots to "avoid traveling to Ukraine and joining the military."

Political context

The Kremlin often accuses Kyiv of recruiting foreign mercenaries to fight against Russian forces. Meanwhile, the regime in Moscow regularly drafts foreigners from predominantly poor countries in Asia and Africa to fight against Ukraine.

The Colombian government condemned Russia's invasion of Ukraine back in 2022. However, the country's president, Gustavo Petro, opposed sending weapons to support Ukraine. He advocated for peaceful negotiations to end the conflict.

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