A Blog by Jonathan Low


Mar 7, 2022

For Those Foreigners Wishing To Fight For Ukraine, Here's What To Do

A reported 32,000 non-Ukrainians have indicated a desire to fight for the Ukraine so far. 3,000 Americans have filed applications. The country has repeatedly stressed that it only wants trained veterans with combat experience. 

Ukrainian President Zelensky has said 16,000 have been approved and are on their way. This is a purely volunteer effort. There is no pay. Process and link below. JL 

Howard Altman reports in Military Times and Lauren Barry reports in Audacy:

Ukraine officials have stressed that they are only seeking those with military training to take part in combat. The Ukrainian embassy in Washington D.C. said they have already received more than 3,000 applications from U.S. citizens. “Ukraine officials are looking for foreign volunteers with combat experience who require little training before being armed and sent to the front line.” Veterans should: apply to the Ukraine embassy. Fill out an application online. Arrive at embassy with documents for an interview. Go to Ukraine in an organized manner.

Ukraine officials have stressed that they are only seeking those with military training to take part in combat. People without military training or combat experience should not travel to Ukraine intending to fight, officials added. The U.S. State Department also recommends citizens not travel to Ukraine.

Under siege by its much larger and more powerful neighbor, Ukraine has been so far able to slow down Russia’s attack, a senior U.S. defense official said Sunday morning.

But there is a long fight ahead.

The Russians have been frustrated. They have been slowed. They have been stymied, and they have been resisted by Ukrainians, and to some degree, they’ve done it to themselves in terms of their fuel and logistics and sustainment problems,” the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to brief reporters. “But as I said earlier, we would expect them to learn from these issues and adapt to them and try to overcome them. So I think we all need to be very sober here. in recognizing that this is combat, and combat is ugly, it’s messy, it’s bloody, and it’s not wholly predictable.

And to that end, Ukraine is calling on foreigners who want to help.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has created “The International Legion of Territorial Defense of Ukraine.”

Veterans have reached out  interested in helping Ukraine.

Before you go, this is what you need to know, according to the official, who spoke to Military Times Sunday on condition of anonymity in an interview repeatedly interrupted by ongoing airstrikes.

Here’s what veterans, other U.S. citizens or anyone else interested in helping out, need to know.

  1. Apply to the Embassy of Ukraine in your country with the intention of joining the Foreign Legion of Territorial Defense of Ukraine (ask a military diplomat or consul for details). Applicants can visit the Embassy in person, call or send an email to start the process.
  2. Get your documents in order. This includes an ID, a passport to travel abroad, documents confirming military service or work with law enforcement agencies and participation in combat.
  3. Arrive at the embassy with documents for an interview with the defense attaché and the settlement of any visa issues with the consul.
  4. Write an application for enlistment in the Territorial Defense of the Armed Forces of Ukraine for military service under a contract on a voluntary basis. (This is in addition to Step 1.)
  5. Receive instructions on how to arrive in Ukraine and what to bring. Military clothing, equipment, helmet, body armor, combat gloves, tactical glasses, belts and vests are recommended. “It is not obligatory,” the official said, “but a foreign soldier in his national uniform looks good for the International Legion.”
  6. Go to Ukraine in an organized manner. Representatives of Ukrainian embassies, consulates (abroad) and Territorial Defense in Ukraine will provide assistance on the way. Contacts will be provided at the Embassy of Ukraine in your country.


Around 16,000 volunteers are expected to help Ukrainians fight off a Russian attack that has already lasted more than a week, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Thursday in a video address.

According to various reports, thousands of volunteers from the U.S. as well as others from Great Britain, France, Italy, Germany and Poland are ready to join the fight. As of Tuesday, both Ukraine and Russia had suffered around 1,500 military deaths each, according to The New York Times.

Although Ukraine has one of Europe’s largest militaries with 170,000 active-duty troops and 100,000 reservists, it is outnumbered by the approximately 900,000 people enlisted in the Russian Federation military.

“Ukraine receives weapons from its partners on a daily basis. From real friends. More and more powerful weapons every day,” said Zelensky. “Ukraine is already meeting foreign volunteers who are going to our country. The first of 16,000. They are going to defend freedom. Defend life. For us. For us all. And it will be successful. I’m sure.”

Last week, Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba urged foreign volunteers to fight for Ukraine.

According to the Embassy of Ukraine in USA Facebook page, those interested can fill out a form to join the newly formed International Legion. Since Ukraine is not in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the U.S. has not yet sent troops directly to the country.

A U.S. defense official at the Ukrainian embassy in Washington D.C. said they have already received more than 3,000 applications from U.S.
citizens, including applications from many veterans, according to The Military Times.

As of Thursday, several hundred volunteers had already arrived in Ukraine, said a government official there.

“Ukraine officials stress to Military Times that they are looking for foreign volunteers with combat experience who require little training before being armed and sent to the front line,” said the outlet.

While it is legal for Americans to volunteer to fight for another country, it is not legal for Ukraine to hire them.

According to NBC, “small groups of determined-looking men,” were heading over the border from Poland to Ukraine Thursday to fight off the Russians and “many of the men had black tactical boots hanging from their duffle bags.”

“I’m going to fight,” a 62-year-old man from Great Britain who identified himself as “Ian” told NBC correspondent Jay Gray. Based on the license plates on vehicles that dropped off others headed to the border, they came from Italy and Germany as well.

Mathieu Dos Santos, a 34-year-old French real estate agent, said he planned to leave France with a group of fellow volunteers, according to a Thursday report in The New York Times.

“I’m going to help our European compatriots,” Dos Santos said. A former member of the French Army, he said he was doing so “in the continuity” of his “commitment” to serve France.

A private Facebook group for French volunteers in Ukraine has more than 8,000 members.

While volunteers from the U.S. and Europe prepare to help Ukraine, Russians continue to attack. As of Friday, Russian troops had taken control of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant and had attacked the cities of Chernihiv, Mariupol and Kharkiv, according to CNN.


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