Russian 'Volunteers' From Ukraine Conflict Could Join Syrian Army: Report

Russian "volunteers", including some who may have fought in the conflict in eastern Ukraine, could travel to Syria to fight for the army there, a senior Russian lawmaker told independent news agency Interfax.

Admiral Vladimir Komoyedov who heads the Russian parliament's defence committee did not rule out the emergence of a Russian volunteer brigade or battalion when asked by Interfax about the country's military operations in Syria.

"It is like the famous song goes 'You cannot stop the Komsomol volunteers'," Komoyedov said in reference to a ubiquitous song from a Soviet World War II film. "Most likely a formation of Russian volunteers, participants in armed conflicts, will emerge in the ranks of the Syrian army."

The Russian government has repeatedly said that it is not planning to launch a ground operation in Syria and is only using airstrikes to combat Islamist militant group ISIS and other groups opposed to Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime.

Moscow has also remained resolute that it has not sent servicemen or military equipment in any official capacity to Ukraine during the ongoing conflict in the east of the country, despite evidence to the contrary, and has continually insisted that any Russian soldiers in Ukraine are not acting servicemen but are there as volunteers.

One Russian soldier, who was captured in May by Ukrainian forces in the Luhansk region, said he would consider suing the Ministry of Defence for unfair dismissal after Moscow declared that he had been dismissed from the military months before he entered Ukraine.

Komoyedov told Interfax that volunteers could make a decent living by going to fight in Syria, although he did not give specific figures. "What draws volunteers there besides their ideas? Of course it is probably money," he said.

The speaker of Russia's upper house of parliament, Valentina Matviyenko reiterated yesterday that Russia has no plans to begin ground operations in Syria.