Ukraine Creates Foreign Legion as Volunteers From Abroad Join the Fight

Ukraine has created a foreign legion of volunteers for foreigners who want to join the battle against Russia.

The President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, said on Sunday the country is establishing an "international" legion for foreign volunteers who want to fight for the nation, according to Reuters.

Zelenskyy said in a statement: "This will be the key evidence of your support for our country."

Dmytro Kuleba, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine confirmed President Zelenskyy's comments in a separate statement.

Kuleba said in a tweet shared on Sunday: "Foreigners willing to defend Ukraine and world order as part of the International Legion of Territorial Defense of Ukraine, I invite you to contact foreign diplomatic missions of Ukraine in your respective countries. Together we defeated Hitler, and we will defeat Putin too."

Newsweek has contacted Ukraine's Ministry of Foreign Affairs for comment.

Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine on Thursday, following weeks of talks and negotiations with the White House and European leaders.

The Russian military has penetrated the Ukrainian border at several locations with forces closing in on the capital Kyiv.

Putin's invasion has forced many Ukrainians to flee their homes, with many leaving the country.

Newsweek previously reported the UN Refugee Agency confirmed on Friday that at least 100,000 people within Ukraine had been displaced and another 50,000 had left the country since the invasion began.

The majority of those who have fled Ukraine arrived in the neighboring countries of Moldova, Poland, Romania and Hungary.

But the invasion has come at a steep cost to Putin with the White House, European leaders and their allies issuing a number of economic sanctions against Russia.

On Friday, European Union (EU) member states agreed to freeze any assets held by Putin and his Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov that are held in Europe.

According to Reuters, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said: "We are now listing President Putin and Foreign Minister Lavrov as well.

"They are responsible for the deaths of innocent people in Ukraine, and for trampling on the international system. We, as Europeans, do not accept them."

The EU has also agreed to remove a number of Russian banks from SWIFT, an international payment system. Russia is reliant on the payment system for its oil and gas exports, according to the BBC.

President Joe Biden had considered the possibility of removing Russia from SWIFT in a bid to cut off ways that Putin can fund his war.

In a Friday briefing, Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in response to a question about the transaction system: "As it relates to SWIFT, we've never taken that off the table, of course, and I'm certainly not taking it off the table today. So, certainly, there'll be ongoing discussions about that.

As you know, SWIFT is a messaging service that connects 11,000 banks. And many would argue that there are ways that — that Russia — the Russian leadership could get around that over the course of time, but it certainly remains an option on the table.

Ukrainan soldier and man holding rifle
A military instructor teaches a schoolboy shooting with Kalashnikov rifles, during a training session at a military unit of the National Guard of Ukraine in western Ukrainian city of Lviv on February 15, 2022. An international legion has been created. YURIY DYACHYSHYN / Contributor/Getty