Volunteer brigade members from 52 countries, including the US, Canada, Sweden, Spain and the United Kingdom, enter Ukraine to face the Russian assault
Europe joins forces against the Kremlin’s military offensive in the East. Although not in the most explicit way possible. Several governments have unilaterally sent weapons and humanitarian aid to Ukraine, but refrain from sending their own troops. The issue was promoted days ago by the president of the occupied territory, Volodímir Zelenski, who urged the creation of an “international legion” of volunteers. Foreigners who have responded to the call are armed to “join the defense of collective security.” Because, in his opinion, «this is not only the invasion of Ukraine by Russia; it is the beginning of a war against Europe, against European unity». According to Zelensky, around 20,000 fighters have entered the country since the start of the conflict, mostly from the mainland.
The first are already deployed and “in position” on the outskirts of Kiev, reported the command of the local Army. The same sources specified that there are citizens of up to 52 nations, including the United States, Sweden, Lithuania, the United Kingdom, Mexico or India. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dimitro Kuleba, highlighted that this contingent of brigade members enlisted in the first twenty-four hours of operation of the website opened by the Ukrainian Government to facilitate the necessary procedures, fightforua.org.
But can someone just go to someone else’s war? The national laws of the relevant countries do not allow it, although there are loopholes that can be exploited to get away with it. In the UK, for the British to go abroad to fight – in this case, against Russian forces – is “illegal”, the chief of staff said. However, Foreign Minister Liz Truss showed her support for those who wanted to go to Ukraine to defend the international order.
Similar to what is happening in the United States, where its president, Joe Biden, has stressed at every opportunity that his military troops “have not participated and will not participate” in the war crisis triggered by Vladimir Putin. If they do, he warned, “when the Americans and the Russians start shooting at each other, it will be a world war.” Something that the Democratic Administration wants to avoid at all costs, although it has not been able to prevent 3,000 of its compatriots from joining the ranks of the militias in Kiev. That, at least, is maintained by Ukrainian diplomatic sources in Washington.
“It is right”
Half a dozen Spanish volunteers are also in the besieged capital. Joining the battle “wasn’t really a decision; it is simply something that has to be done. It is the right thing to do,” says Hunter Francis, a Canadian ex-soldier and criminology student, who declares that he does not feel “any anger towards the Russians.” “They don’t want to be there; nobody wants this war –he abounds–. Nobody wins”.
It is not the first time that Ukraine has received foreign fighters to fight on its territory. Since the outbreak of the conflict in Donbass in 2014, an estimated 17,000 volunteers from 55 countries have championed their cause. Opposite, Russia has the support of Chechen forces and Syrian mercenaries and the Wagner group.
Vladimir Putin, Volodimir Zelensky, Spain, United States, India, Mexico, United Kingdom, Russia, Sweden, Ukraine, Washington, War in Ukraine
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