The ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia has led to an interesting development in the composition of Ukraine’s fighting forces. According to an AP Report, Ukraine is actively recruiting Colombian veterans, renowned for their extensive combat experience, by offering them salaries that are significantly higher than what they earned back home.
Colombia, with a long history of internal conflict, has cultivated a pool of soldiers with exceptional experience in guerrilla warfare and operations against drug cartels. Annually, over 10,000 soldiers retire from Colombia’s military, which is the second-largest in Latin America. Many of these veterans, faced with limited domestic economic opportunities, find the prospect of earning up to four times their usual salary in Ukraine an attractive proposition. The Ukrainian government’s offer includes monthly salaries of up to $3,300 for foreign fighters, with additional compensation for injuries and death in combat.
The recruitment of Colombian mercenaries is facilitated through social media and word-of-mouth, with potential recruits drawn by the stories of those who have already made the journey. Ukraine’s diversified recruitment strategy, targeting Spanish-speaking veterans among others, represents a significant shift from the early days of the conflict, when volunteers primarily came from post-Soviet states and English-speaking countries.