A beret and a badge to prove that legionnaires would have been present at Mariupol † This is the claim that has been widely shared since Wednesday on the social networks† Several Internet users claim that members of the foreign legion holed up in the harbor of this badly hit city over there war with members of the Azov regiment, a regiment that comes back regularly in pro-Russian propaganda.
They rely on it on a video from the “War gonzo” YouTube account, which was published on April 4 and has since garnered 272,000 views. It shows a man, probably a Russian soldier, grabbing the beret from the back of what appears to be a military vehicle littered with trash. The soldier then presents a badge to the camera.
The beret and badge seen in the video are indeed elements of the uniform of the Foreign Legion, sources confirm, specialists in this body of the French army. However, elements are challenging: “We see that the beret is new,” underlines a military source with 20 minutes† As for the badge, it must bear a number on the front, this source adds, which is not the case here.
It is also possible to buy a beret and a badge in military surpluses or on the Internet, a second specialist in these questions adds, adding: “A legionnaire does not abandon his beret. They are taught very young not to give up their weapon and their beret. †
In addition, France does not deploy any legionnaires in Ukraine, a military source recalls, but cannot rule out the presence of former legionnaires or deserters on the ground. The legionnaires currently under contract to the army are not allowed to go to Ukraine on their own initiative: those who ignore orders and disappear risk to radiation, reminded of 20 minutes March 11 Colonel Antoine Fleuret, Chief of Staff of the Foreign Legion Command.
The Foreign Legion has repeatedly referred to the case of men who declared their desire to go to Ukraine and present themselves as former legionaries. On Twitter, the recruitment agency did not hesitate to point out that some had never been given this status, as they only stayed in these units for a few weeks.
According to Vadim Boïtchenko, the city’s mayor, 90% of Mariupol’s infrastructure has been destroyed. An evacuation convoy of a delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross has explained had to give up this Wednesday to approach the city due to “security conditions”.