Nearly 20,000 People Have Answered Ukraine's Call To Join Their 'Foreign Legion' To Fight Russia
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Ukraine has called on people around the world to join their 'foreign legion' of international fighters and nearly 20,000 people from 52 countries around the world have applied.
Speaking to local media, Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba praised the unprecedented mobilisation of foreigners who want to fight for Ukraine.
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. Together we defeated Hitler, and we will defeat Putin, too.— Dmytro Kuleba (@DmytroKuleba) February 27, 2022
"The whole world today is on the side of Ukraine, not only in words, but also in deeds," Kuleba said.
"The mobilisation of the free people of the world is simply amazing.
"Experienced veterans and volunteers from 52 countries of the world come to us.
"We did not hire them, we do not stimulate them in any way. This is their desire to fight on the side of good," the minister said.
Kuleba revealed that the number of applications to fight for Ukraine 'is approaching 20,000'.
For the first 24 hours 12,94 million visited the website https://t.co/n8YVsD7xam for foreign citizens who want to join the International Defense Legion of Ukraine and defend peace and security in the world pic.twitter.com/RBINzoXYn3— MFA of Ukraine 🇺🇦 (@MFA_Ukraine) March 6, 2022
The massive influx of international applications to fight comes after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called on 'citizens of the world' to join the Ukrainian defence.
Zelenskyy also lifted visa requirements for foreign fighters to simplify the process for those wishing to volunteer to defend Ukraine from Russian invasion.
Ukraine’s Defence Ministry also put out a call for international volunteers in a Facebook post last week.
Australians, however, have been cautioned from leaving the country to join Ukrainian forces.
According to Volodymyr Shalkivskyi, the chargé d’affaires at Ukraine’s embassy in Australia, 'at least 20' people have contacted the embassy to express an interest in travelling to the country to fight.
“I am telling them that I don’t have any instructions yet,” Shalkivskyi told Guardian Australia.
“I’m telling them they need to check Australian legislation because we don’t want for them to get into trouble.”
🇺🇦Ukraine’s International Legion fighters are already defending Kyiv 🔥 pic.twitter.com/g4nr10nuoP— Illia Ponomarenko 🇺🇦 (@IAPonomarenko) March 7, 2022
Prime Minister Scott Morrison had some clear advice to Aussies wishing to fight: don't go.
“Our law sets out arrangements where people can be involved in official activity by a sovereign state, which Ukraine obviously qualifies for, but the nature of these arrangements are very uncertain,” Morrison said.
According to Australia's Criminal Code, it is an offence for an Australian to enter a foreign country with the intention of engaging in hostile activity.
However, it is not an offence if it is done as part of 'the person’s service in any capacity in or with the armed forces of the government of a foreign country'.
If you would like to donate to the Red Cross Emergency Appeal, which will help provide food, medicines and basic medical supplies, shelter and water to those in Ukraine, click here for more information.