This is how you can join the Ukraine Foreign Legion (and who can join it)

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International Legion of Territorial Defence Forces of Ukraine (Ukrainian Ground Forces/Wikimedia Commons)

It’s been more than a year since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine began. During this period, many volunteers from around the world came forward willing to fight for Ukraine. As a result, the Ukraine Foreign Legion, also known as the International Legion for the Defense of Ukraine, was created and this is how you can join it.

Step 1 – Apply 

Apply to the embassy of Ukraine in your country and ask to see a defense attache or consul about joining.

You need to bring your government-issued ID, passport, and documents that confirm your military service or service in law enforcement agencies. The official may request additional documents, as well, and will then schedule an interview. 

Step 2 – Sign the contract

A patch of the International Legion for the Defense of Ukraine. (Photo by International Legion of Defense of Ukraine)

If you pass the interview the official will make Visa arrangements and will enlist on a voluntary contract to fight with the Armed Forces of Ukraine as part of the Ukraine Foreign Legion.

Step 3 – Get ready to go 

You’ll be provided instructions on how to travel to Ukraine and what to bring. They suggest bringing proper clothing, a helmet, body armor, and other equipment. It is recommended that you also bring a compass, a good knife, a multitool, good boots, extra boots, tons of socks, and warm clothes.

Step 4 – Travel to Ukraine 

You’ll need to travel in a defined and legal way to Ukraine. The embassies and consulates will provide assistance on your trip to join the Ukraine Foreign Legion and will also provide contacts to ensure your travel is smooth and easy. 

Step 5 – Dig in 

You’ll arrive at a collection point in Ukraine where you’ll officially sign your contract and become a member of the Ukrainian Foreign Legion. You can find more information on the Legion’s website.

Related: Images surface of secretive US MALD flying decoy used in Ukraine. But what is MALD?

Do you really want to join the Ukraine Foreign Legion? 

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy makes a speech in the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea during the Russo-Ukrainian War. (Photo by the Presidential Office of Ukraine)

Anyone who joins should be ready for what it really means. Although you might have served, you haven’t necessarily seen what war is.

Americans who fought in the GWOT were spoiled. We always had superior numbers, firepower, and technology. The war in Ukraine has proven to be a brutal one, and Russia has not treated foreign soldiers well when captured. 

If you are going to go, take out any ideas of being a conquering hero who John Wicks his way across Ukraine. Get ready to fill sandbags, live in a ditch, and go months without a shower and hot meal. Be prepared to be exhausted beyond belief and to be bored out of your mind. Be prepared to be cold and wet. 

Related: How will I do when that time comes? Men in combat

(Photos by U.S. Army Sgt Arturo Guzman)

If you’re not prepared for such harsh conditions, you might change your mind once there and become a waste of time for a country struggling against a very powerful enemy. Don’t go and become a parasite who attempts to get out of work and avoid misery. 

Also, if you’re like me and after leaving the military you gained some weight and certainly can’t score as high on PFT, get in shape before you go. Don’t struggle to walk upstairs wearing armor. If you are going to go, go ready to fight a war. 

Related: Keep fit on deployment with these improvised workout equipment ideas

Don’t join the Ukraine Foreign Legion if…

  • You have chronic medical issues, including asthma, high blood pressure, dangerous allergies, etc; 
  • Are seeking some form of glory;
  • Can’t handle a rifle, shovel, or body armor;
  • Have no history of warfighting;
  • Are only going cause its the cool thing to do;
  • Can’t take orders;
  • Are lazy;
  • Are addicted to anything;
  • Can’t go without sleep, coffee, or your warm bed;
  • If you consider whining productive;
  • You can’t run a mile in less than nine minutes;
  • Aren’t educated about the geography, human terrain, weather, enemy, and ally situation

Glory is never evident and overt. It’s not an in-your-face affair. Victory and glory come from the united work of individuals accomplishing a common goal. Digging a ditch may not seem important until the mortars come in and you and your fellow soldiers have a place to hide. You might dig the hole that saves someone else’s life, and you’ll never know it. Know that as mundane as your work may be, it’s important. 

Know that combat lies in wait, and if you aren’t ready for it, you are putting your comrades at risk. This isn’t a game. It’s very real and very dangerous. If you aren’t prepared for that reality, then don’t go because I assure you that reality is prepared for you. 

Feature Image: Men of the International Legion of Territorial Defence Forces of Ukraine. (Ukrainian Ground Forces)

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Travis Pike

Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd Bn 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record-setting 11 months at sea. He’s trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines, and the Afghan National Army. He serves as an NRA certified pistol instructor and teaches concealed carry classes.