September 22, 2022


A need to “do something” was among the key reasons given by volunteer foreign fighters talking to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty about why they joined Ukraine’s International Legion. Footage published by the outlet on July 11 shows three volunteers — two from the United States and one from the United Kingdom — discussing what made them travel to the beleaguered east European country to fight against Russian invading forces. “I was watching the war with my family when it first started and thinking, ‘Someone needs to do something,’” Aaron, an American volunteer, says. “And then when the children’s hospital at Mariupol got shelled, I realized ‘someone’ is me.” Ryan, another American volunteer, says for him, joining Ukraine’s armed forces was about staying connected to the country. “I understood that at this moment, with what was going to happen in this country with the war, that my friends and other Ukrainians and I would be on different paths, that if I wanted to stay a part of that world, if I wanted to stay with them, I would have to fight with them as well,” he tells RFE/RL. Just days after Russia’s February 24 invasion, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced the formation of the foreign legion, prompting governments around the world to warn their citizens against partaking in the conflict. Credit: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty via Storyful


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