Foreign Fighters in War: The Pros & Cons

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Curated by Nimish Sawant

Tens of thousands of foreign fighters have registered their interest and many have fought alongside Ukrainian soldiers in this war.

  • On 27 February 2022, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced the formation of the International Legion of Territorial Defense of Ukraine and put out a call for volunteers.
  • Fighters from countries around Ukraine as well as across the Atlantic registered their interest and many have even fought in the war alongside Ukrainian soldiers.
  • In the earliest stages, anyone was allowed to volunteer. Now, the International Legion has a strict vetting process which only takes in volunteers with previous combat experience.
  • Many experts feel that volunteering to fight for another nation comes with issues such as language barriers, increased violence against civilians and becoming canon fodder for the enemy.
  • There’s also the conflict about whether Russia will consider this as an act of aggression from Western nations if their citizens are indulging in private warfare.
  • Russia calls these volunteers as mercenaries and its Defense Ministry has said that if captured, the volunteers would be treated as criminals and not be afforded a prisoner-of-war treatment.
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