Foreign volunteers arriving to fight in Ukraine are being turned away for lack of experience, a foreign legion spokesperson said
Territorial Defense Forces of Ukraine take part in military training on March 11, 2022 © AFP / Sergei Supinsky
Foreigners who want to volunteer on the front lines in Ukraine should not show up in the country if they have not had previous training and real “live combat experience,” the International Legion of Territorial Defense of Ukraine (ILDU) has warned.
Speaking to Canadian news channel CTV News on Saturday, ILDU spokesperson Damien Magrou said the foreign legion, set up to attract volunteers from around the world, would only accept fighters who already “know their way around a battlefield.”
“Right now we’re looking for people exclusively with live combat experience,” Magrou said. “We’ve had, unfortunately, quite a lot of people coming through to Ukraine and being turned away because they don’t have this experience.”
Magrou said the ILDU had already attracted fighters from 50 countries around the world, including “quite a lot of Canadians of Ukrainian descent.”
The only training on offer is “top-up training” aimed at getting volunteers up to speed on using Ukrainian equipment, he said, adding that any volunteers who show up without the necessary experience would be better off volunteering for humanitarian groups instead.
Kiev estimates that around 20,000 foreigners have joined the ILDU since Russia launched its military offensive in late February. However, there have been reports that mercenaries are fleeing to neighboring Poland in large numbers. Russia has said that it has struck at least two military training facilities in Ukraine where mercenaries were being hosted.