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Uzbekistan Asks Kyiv About Detained Uzbeks Fighting For Russia

Ukrainian soldiers ride a BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicle near the recently liberated town of Izyum, on September 14.

The Uzbek Embassy in Kyiv has urged Ukrainian authorities to provide detailed information about two men in Russian uniform detained by Ukrainian armed forces in recent days after introducing themselves as Uzbek citizens.

The embassy said in a statement that it had sent a note to the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry asking for "detailed and proven" information about two men shown in a video that circulated online in recent days.

In the video, Ukrainian soldiers are seen questioning two captured men who say they are Uzbek nationals and who had joined Russian troops taking part in Moscow’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

"On this issue, we call not to distribute unconfirmed information about this video until all circumstances are fully investigated," the statement says.

The video in question was part of a September 10 report by Ukrainian journalist Yuriy Butusov about Ukraine's counteroffensive against Russian troops.

The two were part of a group of Russian soldiers captured by Ukrainian troops. They say in the video that they are Uzbek nationals who resided in Moscow before joining a private paramilitary group in Russia.

Last month, the Uzbek Embassy in Moscow warned Uzbek citizens residing in Russia of serious repercussions for joining Russia's invasion of Ukraine, emphasizing that any form of participation in military activities on the territory of foreign countries is considered to be a mercenary activity that can be punished by up to 10 years in prison.

The Uzbek statement came after a television channel in Russia's Perm region broadcast a report in which the leader of the Uzbek diaspora in the region, Jahongir Jalolov, called on Uzbeks residing in Perm to create an Uzbek battalion named after the 14th century Turkic ruler Amir Timur. Jalolov said the proposed Uzbek battalion will join Russian military forces to fight against Ukrainians.

Russian media reported earlier that more than 40 military units of volunteers have been created in Russia's regions and ethnic republics.

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