Wed, 29 Jun 2022

MOSCOW, May 26 (Xinhua) -- The United States is actively recruiting members of international terrorist organizations, including the Islamic State (ISIS), as mercenaries to fight in Ukraine, the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) has said.

In April this year, about 60 ISIS militants aged 20-25 were released from prisons controlled by the Syrian Kurds with the participation of American intelligence services, the SVR said in a recent statement.

They were "transferred to the U.S. military base Al-Tanf, located in Syria near the border with Jordan and Iraq, for combat training with a view to subsequent delivery to Ukraine," according to the statement.

The Russian parliament passed a bill on Wednesday to scrap the upper age limit for those who want to serve in the army under a contract.

Previously, Russian citizens aged 18-40 and foreigners aged 18-30 were entitled to conclude the first contract for military service. Now those who are older will be able to serve under a contract until the end of the working age, said Russia's lower parliament house the State Duma.

The adoption of this bill will make it possible to attract more specialists to the military service, said Andrei Kartapolov, co-author of the initiative and chairman of the Defense Committee of the State Duma.

An explanatory note said highly professional specialists are needed for the use of high-precision weapons, and the operation of weapons and military equipment, while experience shows that professionals in that area are usually in the age range of 40-45.

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on Wednesday to simplify the procedure for residents in the Zaporizhzhya and Kherson regions in southern Ukraine to apply for Russian citizenship.

Putin signed the document to amend an April 2019 decree, expanding the favorable terms from serving Donetsk and Lugansk residents to covering people of the current four places.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Wednesday that the end of the conflict in Ukraine depends on the West's position on aid to Kiev and Russia's desire to sit down at the negotiating table, the government-run Ukrinform news agency reported.

"As for when this war may end, I think it depends on some things, specific things. First of all, on the desire of different parties," Zelensky said while speaking via video link with the "Ukrainian breakfast" event at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

There will be a peace process in any case after the military part of the conflict is over, Zelensky said, adding he supports holding peace talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin without any mediators.

Produced by Xinhua Global Service

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