On January 17, 2024, the Russian Defence Ministry stated that they conducted a precision strike on a temporary deployment point of foreign militants in Kharkiv, Ukraine, primarily consisting of French mercenaries. The ministry claimed the attack killed dozens of foreign fighters and injured many more but did not provide concrete evidence to support these claims. This strike led to significant damage to a multi-storey building in central Kharkiv, resulting in civilian injuries and further escalating the ongoing conflict.
Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city near the Russian border, has faced persistent shelling since the onset of large-scale hostilities by Russia in February 2022. The region’s governor, Oleg Synegubov, refuted Russia’s claims, stating that there were no military targets in the area affected by the strike.
According to previous a previous reports from French sources RTL and Mediapart, there may be roughly 100 French volunteers fighting in Ukraine’s International Legion.