Lebanese militant group Hezbollah on Friday “categorically” denied sending troops and experts to fight alongside Russian forces in the ongoing war in Ukraine.

“I categorically deny anything of these claims. These claims are lies that are bare of truth,” Hezbollah Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah was quoted as saying on Lebanese television channel, Al Mayadeen TV.

“No one from Hezbollah, neither a fighter nor an expert, went to this arena or any of the arenas of these wars,” Nasrallah added, clarifying any remaining doubts.

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The Hezbollah Sec-Gen’s statement comes days after Russian President Vladimir Putin gave the greenlight to foreign fighters to come to Russia’s aid.

“If you see that there are people who want to come on a voluntary basis, not for money, and support people living in Donbas, well, we need to come to meet them and help them move to the war zone,” the 69-year-old had said at a meeting of Russia’s Security Council in Moscow last week.

Subsequently, Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu claimed that as many as 16,000 volunteers from the Middle East were ready to join Russia-backed rebels in their fight against Ukraine, while Kyiv claimed that as many as 1,000 troops from the Hezbollah and Syria had joined up with Russian forces.

Russia, however, is not the only one that has welcomed foreign fighters with open arms.

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A few days into the invasion, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky also urged willing volunteers from abroad to join the fight against Moscow, eased entry requirements for those willing to enlist, and guaranteed that combat volunteers would be provided with arms and ammunition.

On March 3, Zelensky welcomed the first batch of 16,000 foreign fighters to Ukraine, and reportedly thousands more from as many as 52 countries have signed up to fight on Kyiv’s side.

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began on February 24, at least 816 civilians have been killed and 1,333 injured, while more than 6.5 million Ukrainians have been displaced.