A group of 10 special operations veterans, including six Americans, three Brits and a German are reportedly planning to travel to Ukraine to assist in the ongoing fighting against Russian invaders.
An unnamed fellow U.S. Army veteran who is helping to arrange the group’s passage to Ukraine told Buzzfeed about their plan this week. According to text messages shared with Buzzfeed, the group of 10 NATO-trained and combat-experienced veterans wants to be among the first to join the International Legion of the Territorial Defense of Ukraine. On Sunday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced the formation of the international legion, a force that will consist of international volunteers willing to help Ukraine fight against Russian invaders.
Two former U.S. infantry officers are also planning to join Ukraine’s international volunteer legion, to provide leadership expertise for the new unit.
“This is the beginning of a war against Europe, against European structures, against democracy, against basic human rights, against a global order of law, rules, and peaceful coexistence,” Zelenskyy said as he announced the creation of the international volunteer unit. “Anyone who wants to join the defense of Ukraine, Europe, and the world can come and fight side by side with the Ukrainians against the Russian war criminals.”
“A separate subdivision is being formed of foreigners entitled the International Legion for the Territorial Defense of Ukraine,” Zelenskyy continued. “There is no greater contribution which you can make for the sake of peace.”
On Sunday, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba also tweeted, “Foreigners willing to defend Ukraine and world order as part of the International Legion of Territorial Defense of Ukraine, I invite you to contact foreign diplomatic missions of Ukraine in your respective countries.”
In order to join Ukraine’s International Legion of Territorial Defense, volunteers must:
- Contact the Ukrainian embassy in their country
- Be briefed on the documents and equipment they must bring
- Report to the embassy with their documents and complete an interview with a defense attaché and then for visa clearance with a consul.
- Complete an application to join the territorial defense of the Armed Forces of Ukraine for contracted military service on a voluntary basis (defense attaché provides assistance).
- Get instructions on how to enter Ukraine and what documents and equipment are required.
- Enter Ukraine in a designated manner.
- Go to a military assembly point in Ukraine and sign the contract to join the Foreign Legion of Territorial Defense of Ukraine.
U.K. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has already expressed support for British nationals traveling to Ukraine to join in the fighting. Truss told BBC it is up to individuals to decide whether to join the fighting in Ukraine, but said they would be joining a fight for “for democracy.” Truss also said Ukrainians are fighting for freedom, “not just for Ukraine but for the whole of Europe.”
Ukraine has seen other foreign volunteers join its troops in the past. According to Buzzfeed, thousands of foreign volunteers have gone to Ukraine since 2014, after Russia annexed control of Crimea from Ukraine. Pro-Russian separatist forces have also been fighting with Ukrainian government forces in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region since 2014.