Ukraine’s President Zelensky has announced the creation of a foreign legion, allowing international volunteers to join the country’s defence against the Russian invasion.
“This will be the key evidence of your support for our country,” stated Zelensky.
Here is everything you need to know about Ukraine’s newly announced foreign legion.
What did President Zelensky say?
At a press conference on February 26, Zelensky announced the formation of a foreign legion for Ukraine.
“Every friend of Ukraine who wants to join Ukraine in defending the country please come over, we will give you weapons,” he said.
Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, echoed these sentiments: "Foreigners willing to defend Ukraine and world order as part of the International Legion of Territorial Defence of Ukraine, I invite you to contact foreign diplomatic missions of Ukraine in your respective countries.
What is a foreign legion?
A foreign legion is any military unit comprised of international volunteers. Typically, the term refers specifically to the French foreign legion, which is the most famous such group.
Historically, there’s been a number of different foreign legions active in combat – it’s something with a well-established precedent.
How does it work?
As of yet, there are few details about how Ukraine’s International Legion of Territorial Defence will work.
In Zelensky’s initial statement, the President said that the Ukranian Government would announce “very shortly how this can be done”.
The foreign legion would depend on a legal standard brought in by President Zelensky’s immediate predecessor, Petro Poroshenko. In 2016, the then-president issued Decree of the President of Ukraine #248, which granted foreign nationals the right to join Ukraine’s armed forces.
What have international governments said?
UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss was asked about Ukraine’s foreign legion by the BBC.
“That is something people can make their own decisions about,” said Truss when asked if she would support UK nationals travelling to Ukraine to fight. “The people of Ukraine are fighting for freedom and democracy, not just for Ukraine but for the whole of Europe.”
“Absolutely, if people want to support that struggle I would support them in doing that.”
A message from the editor:
Thank you for reading. NationalWorld is a new national news brand, produced by a team of journalists, editors, video producers and designers who live and work across the UK. Find out more about who’s who in the team, and our editorial values. We want to start a community among our readers, so please follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and keep the conversation going.