Foreign Fighter Join Ukraine’s Cause

From the very beginning of the war in Ukraine, President Zelensky has been asking for foreigners to come to the beleaguered country’s aid. The Ukrainians even put out a high quality recruitment video to entice potential recruits.

Understandably, the plight of the Ukrainians stirs strong emotions. It is a country being invaded by a world power. President Zelensky has done very well in utilizing social media and he has even offered Ukrainian citizenship to those who fight on Ukraine’s behalf. Zelensky has also enjoyed almost uniform support from the mainstream news media in the western world. As a result, people are answering the call to join the foreign legion.

People from all over the world, some with professional military training and some without, are going through the arduous journey to join Ukraine’s Foreign Legion. It is the making of a Hollywood story.

There is just one problem: this is not a war against a third world country; Russia has the third best equipped and trained army in the world. They have air superiority and can file missiles from outside the country. Not to be outdone, Vladimir Putin has also asked for foreigners to join on the side of Russia.

Russia sent out a warning last week to people who were considering volunteering on Ukraine’s side of the conflict, saying they would not be treated as POW’s if captured, but instead would be treated as criminals. Russia followed up that threat with a kinetic attack last Sunday on a base that was being used as a staging ground for foreign fighters. Soon after, the propaganda war swung into full effect.

Some news organizations were reporting that at least 35 people were killed and wounded 134. Russia claimed it killed 180 foreign fighters in the attack, while Ukraine officials initially claimed no foreign fighters were killed. Both sides have a personal stake in their side of the story.

Ukraine wants the influx of foreign fighters to continue while Russia wants to put out the narrative that it is targeting the volunteers so fewer people will join the fight. There have also been stories trickling out that volunteers are only getting three days of training and are poorly equipped. It is impossible to know exactly what the situation is, given the fog of war, but one thing is certain, Russia is not holding back from trying to make an example of those showing up to fight on behalf of Ukraine.