The first messages appeared at the beginning of a file Russian invasion of Ukraine,
A little over a month ago. In WhatsApp groups that gather members of the Russian-speaking community, Brazilians have started asking for information on how to join the Ukrainian forces in the fight against the Russian forces. Ukraine’s Defense Ministry has just announced the formation of an international resistance corps unrelated to a growing movement abroad that has been attracting donations and volunteers to the border to help refugees. The group consists of foreigners who are fighting a war thousands of kilometers from the homeland, on the side of the Ukrainians. And the Brazilians are there, too.
There are no official figures, but it is estimated that about a hundred Brazilians volunteered to join the International Legion against the Russian offensive. The profile is similar to fighters of other nationalities. Most of them are men with a history of jobs in the police or armed forces. Some left Brazil, others already settled in Europe and moved to Ukraine. But what made the presence of the Brazilians known outside the local military circle was the extensive work on social networks, with the frequent posting of photos and videos from the front.
In the photos, they are shown carrying or riding heavy weapons, and they are dressed in military uniforms with the flags of Ukraine and Brazil. References to “skulls” Pop or the famous song of “Tropa de Elite” are also common.
Videos show the destruction of Ukrainian cities, tanks, the transport of military weapons and some field work with gunshots and bombs in the background. The leaflets are often also accompanied by prayers and other texts of a religious nature.
In one of the recent videos posted by a Brazilian, some fighters are seen propped up on trees. With the sound of gunfire and bombs, they drop to the lush ground. Caption: “19 hours of fighting, infiltrated a small village in Kyiv. Summary: Destruction of three armored vehicles and enemies.”
praise and criticism
As the war went on, it didn’t take long for such posts to go viral and Brazilians to gain thousands of followers. But besides the praise and comments on the championship, there were criticisms that they also went to Ukraine to look for likes. And that with the density of sites, they were still revealing sensitive information about the locations of troops and bases. After all, if the posts are followed by many followers, then nothing will prevent them from being also in the Russian intelligence feed.
The controversy increased with a series of Russian air strikes that killed dozens two weeks ago at a Ukrainian training center in the western city of Lviv near the Polish border, which was home to members of the Foreign Legion. Netizens of different nationalities blamed Brazilians for the attack, attributing the accuracy of the attack to tireless posts on social media.
“It is amazing how ridiculous and stupid the Brazilian “volunteers” are in the Foreign Legion. Another mercenary, previously captured near Lviv, also secretly keeps an open profile on Instagram, which greatly pleases his followers with new stories.
In the post, the same netizen posted photos of a Brazilian with more than 42,000 followers, who on his profile describes him as a member of foreign forces in Ukraine, a firefighter in Europe, a criminal police officer and a runway in Brazil. army. In the open account on Instagram, the Brazilian appears in military uniform, alone or with other fighters, carrying weapons or wearing a skull mask. He says that he arrived in Ukraine with an Italian document, because of his dual citizenship, and that he invested his own money to be there.
“(…) I will say it for the last time (whether you pay here or not, I don’t know how to answer you) because I never tried to find out if I would win and how much I would win! Until today I did not receive (sic) 1 euro and it does not matter to me (sic) ) Because what matters is the souls that die in the midst of all this! (…) This is not a place for mercenaries, but for those who are willing to sacrifice their lives to protect the weak! (…) ”, wrote in a recent post. In the publications, he denied He and other Brazilians in combat provide location information to enemy forces by frequently working on networks.
The group left Lviv shortly before the Russian bombing. A shooting instructor from Maringa, Paraná, who said he witnessed the attack, recorded a terrifying video, which soon also went viral: “There were special forces soldiers from all over the world. From France, all of Europe, South Korea, Chile, The United States, Canada (…) The information we have is that everyone is dead. They (the Russians) manage to finish it all. You don’t understand what it’s like for a fighter to drop a missile on us, it’s over, it’s over. The Legion has been wiped out in One hit. Thank God I got out of there. (…) I had no idea what war was like,” he said at the time, while traveling to Poland.
New rules for recruiting
Recently, the Legion stated that it would only accept foreigners with combat experience. He also said that Brazilians, whether experienced or not, would no longer be accepted. The information came from a group of 35 Brazilians whose bags were ready to board the plane and who could have been informed, the day before, that they would no longer be accepted.
GLOBO sought to respond, also through a social network, that it could not “comment on administrative decisions or staffing numbers”.
There is little information about the number of foreigners, whether and how much there are bonuses for Brazilians or other foreigners in Ukraine. The Ukrainian government even created a website a few weeks ago to facilitate the recruitment of those interested in joining forces against the Russians. For Brazilians, the connection was with the Ukrainian embassy in Brasilia. By phone, an official told the report that the embassy does not comment on recruitment nor on the numbers of Brazilians who have gone to Ukraine. The Embassy did not respond to emails about the report until this edition was closed.
Meanwhile, the publications of the Brazilians in the Ukrainian war took on a more defensive, sometimes provocative tone, urging the same critics in the publications to speak less and join the group in the foreground. One of them, who was contacted by the report, said that since the “fake news spread” he preferred to remain silent and “switch things off”, because they were “in constant motion” to fight back.
In one of the latest posts in the official profile of the corps itself, two armed soldiers stand in a field with a tank in the background. Caption: “Our boys are enjoying a sunny day after they beat their Putiny bullies well. Welcome to America!”.
The war as well as the publications continues.
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