Taiwanese foreign fighter dies fighting Russians

Tseng Sheng-kuang, 25, arrived in Ukraine in June. He was killed in combat in the disputed Luhansk region. About 10 Taiwanese volunteers are fighting for Ukraine. Xi Jinping warns Putin not to use nuclear weapons.

Taipei (AsiaNews) – Tseng Sheng-kuang is the first Taiwanese foreign fighter to die in the Ukrainian conflict.

Enlisted in the International Legion supporting Ukraine, the 25-year-old was killed on Wednesday in a military operation against Russian forces in the disputed Luhansk region.

A fellow soldier informed Tseng's family and yesterday came the confirmation from Oleksandr Merezhko, chairman of the Ukrainian Parliament's Committee on Foreign Policy and Interparliamentary Cooperation.

Tseng, who hails from Hualien County, joined the Legion in June.

According to the Ukrainian military, he was a member of the Carpathian Sich Battalion, an infantry unit. His wife hadn't heard from him since 23 October, Focus Taiwan reports.

No exact data exist on the number of foreign volunteers fighting alongside Ukrainian forces, but one rough estimate is 20,000, including 10 Taiwanese nationals.

Meanwhile, in August, the Kyiv Independent reported on possible misconduct by some leaders of an International Legion unit linked to Ukrainian intelligence, accused of mistreating foreign volunteers and employing them in suicide operations.

News of Tseng's death comes as Ukraine prepares a counteroffensive to retake Kherson, a Russian-held stronghold in the southern part of the country.

Meanwhile, yesterday in his short visit to Beijing, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz urged Chinese President Xi Jinping to use his influence on Putin to avert a new escalation of the conflict. However, the Chinese leader is unlikely to intervene directly against his Russian counterpart.

In the meeting with the German leader, Xi did nevertheless issue a warning to the Kremlin, calling on the international community to "reject the threat of nuclear weapons and advocate against a nuclear war to prevent a crisis in the Eurasian continent.”

Scholz said Germany and China agree that Russia would be crossing a red line if it used nuclear weapons.