Dozens of young Ethiopian men are gathering at the Russian embassy in the capital, Addis Ababa, following rumours of soldiers being recruited to fight in the war in Ukraine.
But the embassy’s spokeswoman, Maria Chernukhina, says no recruitment is being carried out in Ethiopia.
“We have a lot of visitors to the embassy in order to express support for Russia,” she tells the BBC.
“Some of them are telling us they are willing to help in any way they can. But we are not a recruitment agency,” Chernukhina adds.
Many of the Ethiopians at the embassy are carrying their personal documents. Some say they have heard rumours of high wages in Russia.
A young man waiting at the entrance tells the BBC he’s looking for a good salary as a soldier or to be hired in any other job available.
“I also like Russia,” he says.
Ethiopia was among countries that missed a UN session to vote on a resolution on the Russian invasion in Ukraine.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, one of the alleged applicants, corporal Tarekegn Wassie, said: “I heard that registration was ongoing at the embassy. Some said it was employment for Russian private security companies, others said it was to join in support of the Russian army. Either way, I am here trying my luck.”
“I love Russia and if it brought me a better income let it be regardless of the risks involved,” he added.
The agency reported that the crowd of men were mostly in their mid-thirties and early forties.
A witness in the Kebena area, where the Russian embassy is located, told the Nation that about 200-300 young Ethiopians queued outside the main entrance on Monday.
Via BBC/Anadolu Agency/the Nation