LONDON: Large groups of predominantly Muslim Chechens and fighters from Belarus have parted with their governments’ stance by siding with Ukraine.
Photos of armed Chechens wearing yellow armbands, which identify Ukrainian forces, were shared on social media.
The fighters boasted a wide range of weaponry, from British-made rocket launchers to sniper rifles and Kalashnikovs.
A secessionist movement in Chechnya, a majority-Muslim republic within Russia, sparked a violent conflict in the 1990s. Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov has rallied an army to fight for Russia in Ukraine.
Belarusian volunteers have joined the war in support of Ukraine, with photos of dozens of fighters being shared by independent media outlets.
The fighters have arrived in Ukraine as US defense officials warn that Belarus might soon deploy troops in support of Russia.