Conflicts & War

Volunteers from around the world join Ukrainian resistance

Przemyśl, Poland, Mar 17 (EFE).- From Georgia, Japan, the United States, Britain and Germany, volunteers from across the world are joining the Ukrainian resistance to help fight against Russia.

Typically young men, physically trained and carrying a military backpack, it is easy to spot the volunteers that have come to risk their lives for a bigger cause.

“I cannot sit at home and watch how the barbarians of the 21st century, the Russians, destroy Ukraine, kill civilians, children, women, old people. I can’t sit and watch it on Telegram or on TV. I am going with my friends to Ukraine to fight. We need to fight, stop those barbarians,” Georgian MP, Aleko Elisashvili, tells Efe at Przemyśl station in Poland, where many of the volunteers arrive before hopping onto a van that will bring them to Ukraine.

For Elisashvili, Georgia and Ukraine have a common enemy: the Russian Federation and its president, Vladimir Putin.

“They already stole 20% of my country and now they are bombarding Ukraine and that is why we must stop” he says.

Elisashvili does not know what is awaiting him on the other side of the border.

“We only know that we have to register with the foreign legion and get uniforms, equipment, a helmet and bulletproof vest.”

For Japanese Xiomi, 25, who served in the military in Japan, the situation is a little more daunting.

“We want to help Ukraine and its people. We haven’t decided which city yet, first we are going to Lviv,” he says, admitting he feels a little bit nervous as it is his first time in Ukraine.

Hashin, a 23 year Japanese veteran, wants to help Ukraine because he has many Ukrainian friends, three of which have already died in Russian attacks.

“I want to help children and women, I am a war veteran, I work on a military base. I can’t help in any other way. I’m not a doctor, I am a soldier and I can offer military support, that’s why I chose this path,” he says.

Hashin has promised his family to come back alive.

“I’m afraid of death, but I don’t think about it, the most important thing now is to do my job: this is how to survive.”

While for Ukraine, any help is welcome, the departure of volunteers to join a country at war can be problematic.

Australia has urged their citizens not to go to Ukraine to fight while the UK criminalizes joining foreign armies and Germany has warned soldiers joining Ukraine risk being tried with war crimes.

But others, like Canada, Denmark and the US have said they will not prosecute those who support Ukrainian forces.

Meanwhile, Putin has drawn volunteers from the Middle East to fight in Ukraine.

Russian defense minister, Sergei Shoigu, said there were some 16,000 willing to fight. EFE


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