Ukrainian officials claim 16,000 foreign volunteers to join ‘International Legion’

Military of UkraineAt least 16,000 foreign volunteers had come forward as of Thursday, answering a call by the Ukrainian government to join the armed fight against the invading Russian army, according to officials in Kiev. The Washington Post reports that many of the volunteers come from post-Soviet states, while others are believed to come from as far away as the United States, Canada and Japan.

Last week, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky invited “all citizens of the world, friends of Ukraine, peace and democracy” to “come and fight side by side with the Ukrainians against the Russian war criminals”. Later that evening, Ukraine’s Minster of Foreign Affairs, Dmytro Kuleba, tweeted that Ukraine had officially formed the International Legion of [the] Territorial Defense of Ukraine. The new body would be open to “foreigners willing to defend Ukraine and [the] world order” from Russian attacks, said Kuleba. Subsequent reports suggested that Ukrainian embassies around the world are instructing potential volunteers to contact Ukrainian defense attachés for more information.

On Thursday, The Washington Post said that, in a video posted on the social media application Telegram, President Zelensky claimed that over 16,000 foreign volunteers had asked to “join the defense of Ukraine, Europe and the world” in just a few days. The announcement by the Ukrainian leader follows news that the government of Ukraine has now lifted entry visa requirements, in order to allow foreign volunteers to travel to the country.

The Post also said that the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine issued an official communique intended for those interested in joining the International Legion of the Territorial Defense of Ukraine. According to the notice, those interested in traveling to Ukraine to fight should visit, call or email the embassy of Ukraine in their respective countries. “Once their application is processed, they will be given assistance on routes to arrive in Ukraine”, the notice by the General Staff said.

Author: Joseph Fitsanakis | Date: 04 March 2022 | Permalink

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