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The Mozart Group is a group of Western veterans that are training fighters in Ukraine, in what reports have described as the Western equivalent to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s infamous Wagner Group.

The Wagner Group—an elite paramilitary force that has been linked to the Russian president—has been deployed to Eastern Ukraine to try to achieve Moscow’s military objective of securing the Donbas region. The elite private army—which is also known as Liga—was formed in 2014, during the war in Donbas in Eastern Ukraine and Russia’s annexation of Crimea. The group has been linked to war crimes.

The Mozart Group was established during the war by ex-U.S. commander Colonel Andrew Milburn, the first marine to lead a Special Operations Task Force during the war against the so-called Islamic State.

Milburn joined the U.S. Marine Corps from London as a private. He retired 31 years later in 2019 as a colonel.

Milburn and the Mozart Group are now training Ukraine’s Special Forces in the military skills they lack, reported. These skills include sniper training, teaching Ukrainians how to spot improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and additional tactical awareness to improve their frontline combat.

In an interview with WUSF public media on April 13, Milburn said that the Mozart Group was established when he saw that the Ukrainian Special Operations Forces were short in “pretty much everything,” from drones to body armor, to secure radios and medical kits. His group is also helping those forces source military equipment in Ukraine.

Milburn, who was born in Hong Kong but grew up in the U.K., has hired several British and U.S. army veterans to help him train Ukrainian fighters at a training center he has established in Kyiv.

More than 20,000 foreign volunteers have reportedly headed to the war zone to join a Ukrainian Foreign Legion fighting against the Russians.

But Milburn has said that many of them had lied about their military background and are now paying the price for their lack of experience.

“The Russians are best in the defense. Yes, they’ve been inept in the offence but they use reams of mines and they’ve got no shortage of artillery shells,” Milburn told on April 7.

“The barrages that they can bring down very quickly have to be seen to be believed.”

The Mozart Group is entirely funded by donations and is not financed at all by the U.S. government, Milburn said in the WUSF interview.

Newsweek has contacted Milburn for comment.

April 20, 2022

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