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Serbia opens 45 cases against mercenaries fighting in Ukraine, Syria

The investigation is being carried out by the Serbian prosecutor's office.

Serbia opens 45 cases against mercenaries fighting in Ukraine, Syria

Since the end of 2014, Serbian prosecutors have launched a total of 45 criminal cases against mercenaries fighting abroad, Tatjana Sekulic of the Belgrade Prosecutor's Office told Politika. 

The cases were opened under Article 386a of the Serbian Criminal Code for participation in a war or armed conflict abroad. According to the October 2014, such mercenaries or recruiters face up to 10 years in prison.

This way, Serbia took an action against those who went to fight alongside pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine's Donbas and Islamic State in Syria.

Sekulic said that last year the prosecutor's office indicted 24 persons on this count. The Higher Court in Belgrade said that last year it tried 28 men who took part in foreign armed conflicts.

Politika said that only a few dozen combatants remained in Ukraine and Syria. 

On 11 October, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) said that over 300 Serbian nationals had fought in the area controlled by Luhansk separatists alone since the start of the conflict.

Ukraine's ambassador to Serbia said in early November that Serbia was not doing enough to deal with its mercenaries in Donbas, which provoked a scandal.

Nevertheless, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin said that there were no problems in relations between Kyiv and Belgrade.