What Foreign Volunteers Need To Know To Fight For Ukraine

March 9, 2022Coffee or Die
army veterans ukraine

A civilian trainee participates in a military training course with the Georgian National Legion in Kyiv on Feb. 8, 2022. Photo by Nolan Peterson/Coffee or Die Magazine.

Ukraine has announced that they’re accepting foreign volunteers to help fight off a massive Russian invasion force closing with their capital city of Kyiv. Foreign volunteer fighters will have to meet a few basic requirements and will need to travel to Ukraine in an organized manner.

Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine, plunging Europe into the largest ground war the continent has seen since the close of World War II. In the days since, Ukraine has mounted a downright astonishing defense against as many as 190,000 Russian troops, stalling their progress on nearly every front. To date, Russia has apparently accomplished none of its larger military objectives, nor has it established control over Ukrainian airspace, as international support for Ukraine continues to mount.

Now, with nations around the world urgently sending aid, military equipment, and supplies to Ukraine, the embattled nation has issued a request for foreign personnel who would volunteer to come and bolster their defenses against the Russian invasion.

foreign volunteers
A volunteer, holding a rifle, protects a main road leading into Kyiv on Friday, Feb. 25, 2022. Photo by Daniel Leal/AFP via Getty Images.

Ukraine’s defense has been heroic, but Russia still has a massive military advantage

Despite Russia’s overwhelming numbers and superior firepower, Ukraine has stymied its efforts to quickly capture the nation. In fact, Russia’s inability to dominate Ukrainian airspace alone may be responsible for the rapidly growing legend of a Ukrainian pilot known as the “Ghost of Kyiv.” This (likely mythical) pilot has been credited with shooting down an astonishing six Russian jets in a single day of fighting, including two of Russia’s most capable Su-35 air superiority fighters.

While we here at Sandboxx can’t confirm that the Ghost of Kyiv exists, we can confirm that it’s a hell of a story.

However, despite Ukraine’s heroic efforts, it seems unlikely that the nation’s military, even bolstered by armed civilians and militia groups, will be able to hold off the Russian advance forever. Russian forces have—thus far—seemingly attempted to limit civilian casualties in the fighting and Russian airstrikes have largely been limited to military targets, though many attacks have indeed struck civilian structures.

A Russian T-90 tank in September 2016. Wikimedia Commons photo.

Experts believe Putin may soon resort to more brutal tactics

Many now fear that Russia’s frustrating failure to quickly remove and replace the Ukrainian government may prompt Putin to order more aggressive tactics similar to those employed by Russian forces against civilians in Syria.

“They have been slowed and they have been frustrated by their lack of progress on Kyiv, and one of the things that could result is a reevaluation of their tactics, and the potential for them to be more aggressive and more overt in both the size and scale of their targeting of Kyiv,” a senior Pentagon official said.

Russian troops have proven disorganized and Russian logistics have clearly been hampered, but it stands to reason that Russian forces will re-organize and adjust their tactics based on their slow progress. Putin’s frustration over these setbacks, combined with the crushing economic blows Russia, a number of Russian oligarchs, and Putin himself have taken in recent days, could prompt a dramatic shift in Russian tactics toward brutality meant to break the will of the Ukrainian people and expedite their defeat. If and when that happens, Ukraine’s need for manpower will become all the more pronounced.

“This was just such a bad, bad miscalculation on Putin’s part,” former CIA Director John Brennan said. “He’s never faced something like this before. I’m sure he’s lashing out at advisers, ministers and others — there may be an emotional spiral here. He’s suffered two black eyes, a bloody nose and a series of punches. He is being crippled on the battlefield and the financial front, and he has no good options.”

Russia troops
Russia’s 217th Guards Parachute Landing Regiment, 98th Airborne Division, during a parade rehearsal in Alabino, Russia in April 2015. Photo by Vitaly V. Kuzmin via Wikimedia Commons.

How foreign volunteers can fight for Ukraine

“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,” said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, according to the Washington Post.

The Military Times‘ Howard Altman spoke to a Ukrainian official under the condition of anonymity—and while being constantly interrupted by Russian airstrikes—earlier this week. During the interview, the official laid out what the process and requirements are for foreign volunteers to join the newly-formed “International Legion of Territorial Defense of Ukraine.”

Ukrainian officials are recommending (but not requiring) that volunteers take their own gear like body armor, gloves, load-bearing vests, helmets, and the like. They have also mentioned potentially bringing your old service uniforms, but we want to be clear that Sandboxx News does not recommend bringing a U.S. military service uniform into a foreign warzone, as it could put your life in increased jeopardy and increased the chances of international incidents that may put other Americans at risk.

Ukraine is temporarily lifting Visa requirements for foreign volunteer fighters.

army veterans ukraine
Adam, left, and Paul are two US Army veterans who have volunteered to help train Ukrainian civilians in basic military skills. Photo by Nolan Peterson/Coffee or Die.

Here are the steps to volunteer to fight for Ukraine:

  • Apply to join the Foreign Legion of Territorial Defense of Ukraine at the embassy of Ukraine in your nation.

  • Have your ID and passport ready, along with records of any military or law enforcement training or service.

  • Be interviewed at the Ukrainian embassy for acceptance.

  • Apply for enlistment into the Foreign Legion of Territorial Defense of Ukraine in writing using their application.

  • Follow instructions given to you to travel to Ukraine.

  • Travel in an organized manner and report to your assigned place of duty for further instructions.

Can Americans go and fight for Ukraine?

According to the U.S. State Department website, American volunteers going to fight in Ukraine may be legal under certain circumstances. Technically speaking, it is not against the law to leave the country to join a foreign military service, but the language of the law does bar Americans from being recruited for service on U.S. soil.

It’s worth noting that many Americans have traveled to fight on behalf of foreign nations over the years, including the fight against ISIS in the Middle East. Noted special operations reporter Jack Murphy, who has embedded with foreign volunteer fighters elsewhere in the world before, says thatthe U.S. government likely could prosecute those who leave the country to fight for another nation, but historical precedent suggests that they won’t.

“The FBI pretty closely tracked the ones in Iraq, Syria, and Ukraine. I’m not aware of any facing prosecution,” Murphy explained on Twitter.

This article was originally published on Sandboxx News. Follow Sandboxx News on Instagram.

Read Next: Did the Russians Just Kill a Second Russian General in Four Days?

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Coffee or Die

Coffee or Die is Black Rifle Coffee Company’s online lifestyle magazine. Launched in June 2018, the magazine covers a variety of topics that generally focus on the people, places, or things that are interesting, entertaining, or informative to America’s coffee drinkers — often going to dangerous or austere locations to report those stories.

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