Ukraine, Russia | They fought in Afghanistan or in Iraq, but they say they weren’t ready for what he met here

Ukraine, Russia |  They fought in Afghanistan or in Iraq, but they say they weren't ready for what he met here

Foreign fighters in Ukraine speak of their failed motives.

“They fought in Afghanistan or in Iraq, but they say they weren’t prepared for what they met here,” said Pollack, one of the foreign fighters fighting with the Ukrainian army.

He estimates there are hundreds of like him in the country, but says many of them are increasingly disillusioned.

– To be completely honest, there are a lot of cowards in the Ukrainian Foreign Legion, says Pollack.

– After the first meeting, they sometimes say that they are not ready for this, that they want to go home, he says.

Many nationalities

The Foreign Legion in the Ukrainian army counts a number of nationalities, including Canadians, Croats and Georgians, says Pollack, who asked not to give his full name and nationality.

However, foreign fighters are not trained to fight in a war that involves massive missile and artillery attacks, he said.

Elon Musk, if you hear me, we need help, pleaded with an American foreign fighter in Kharkiv last month, addressing the troubled founder of Tesla.

Sentenced to death

A number of foreign fighters have been killed in recent months, including a Dutchman, a Frenchman, a German and an Australian.

Russian-backed separatists in Donetsk also arrested several people and sentenced two Britons and a Moroccan to death earlier this year. A few days ago, they also raised a comment on the executions.

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In early June, Russia claimed to have killed “hundreds” of foreign fighters in Ukraine, all of which helped curb the influx of foreigners seeking to enlist in the Ukrainian army.

It is extinguished

French Foreign Legion spokesman Damien Magraud, 33, says many foreign fighters have been put down by the brutality of the war, not least those who come from NATO countries.

An American who has fought six wars before told me that this was the worst he had ever seen, says Magro.

Missiles and bombs. He says what they face on the ground here is very different from what they expected.

He says that between 10 and 30 percent of service recruits in Ukraine pack their bags and go home after a short time, despite having received weapons training.

different motives

-Magro says that almost everyone who comes is ex-soldiers, and one third of them come from English-speaking countries.

Others come mainly from Central and Eastern Europe, and the motives of the foreign warriors are often very diverse.

Americans are fighting for freedom and Western values, and Poles say they are defending their country by defending Ukraine.

They have all signed contracts with the Ukrainian military, but are free to go home whenever they want, he says.

– I wanted to come here after seeing the pictures on TV, says Mika, a foreign German warrior in Kharkiv.

– Since I had a past on defense, I thought I could help. Mika says that if we do not stop the aggressor in Ukraine, he will invade country after country.

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norwegian woman

The purely legal status of foreign fighters varies from country to country. Magro says some of them risk prosecution when they return home, including in Italy and South Korea.

Britain also warned British soldiers and war veterans not to take part in the war, but the picture for Magro is different. Before the war, he worked for two years in a law firm in Kyiv. Therefore, it was the war that brought him, and not the other way around.

– We appreciate the civilian Ukrainians who give us food, and thank us for being here, he says.

There are a few women in the Foreign Legion, but on Women’s Day on March 8 some soldiers were given flowers and chocolates they gave to one of the women, a Norwegian woman who was stationed at the front in a Kyiv suburb.

Jabori Obasanjo

Jabori Obasanjo

"Coffee trailblazer. Certified pop culture lover. Infuriatingly humble gamer."

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