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Putin Decrees Foreigners In Russian Army Can Fight In Wars Abroad

Russian soldiers march at a military base in Syria's Latakia Province (file photo)

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree that allows foreign citizens serving in the Russian Army on a contractual basis to take part in Russian military operations abroad.

The decree on amendments to the Russian law on military service was published on October 9.

According to the amendments, foreign nationals serving in the Russian Armed Forces as contractors can be sent "to participate in Russian peacekeeping and counterterrorist operations abroad."

Putin signed a law in 2003 allowing foreign citizens to serve on a contractual basis as soldiers, sailors, and sergeants, but not officers.

Russia has been conducting military operations backing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government in the war in the Middle Eastern country since September 2015.

The Russian Defense Ministry has not said whether foreign nationals serving in the Russian Army were ever sent to Syria.

The Russian military contains both contract soldiers and conscripts.

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