The worldwide volunteer drive assembled to battle the Russian invasion of Ukraine has recruited a big variety of Canadians, in accordance with the group’s spokesperson.
“We have now numerous Canadians,” Corporal Damien Magrou, who speaks for the newly-formed Worldwide Legion of Territorial Defence of Ukraine, stated in an interview.
“Ukraine has a really robust diaspora in Canada, so we’ve acquired quite a lot of Ukrainian-Canadians — let’s put it that means, some with lots of expertise,” Magrou instructed World Information.
1000’s of volunteers from world wide are stated to have supplied to hitch the hassle to repel Russian President Vladimir Putin’s try to annex his western neighbour.
Magrou declined to reveal numbers however stated the highest sources of recruits accepted into the international legion have been Poland, the Baltics, Britain, the USA and Scandinavia.
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They embody veterans of the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, and a few have been combatants in Syria, the place they fought alongside Kurdish armed teams battling ISIS, he stated.
“So what we get essentially the most of by way of fight expertise, it’s Iraq excursions, Afghanistan excursions, although we even have some folks that have been preventing in Syria for varied sides,” stated Magrou.
“Canada was the entire time in Afghanistan. We’ve acquired numerous recruits that have been there.”
After Russian forces invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy introduced the creation of a world legion that might function as a part of Ukraine’s navy.
“If you would like [to] actively take part in preventing for European freedom and democracy … That is time to behave!” learn the discover on the Ukrainian armed forces Fb web page.
Recruits should fill out a questionnaire that asks about their navy expertise and legal historical past. Additionally they endure a private interview by workers at Ukrainian embassies.
These accepted signal a contract. They journey to Poland and are bussed into Ukraine. Many have been despatched to a sprawling coaching centre at Yavoriv, 20 kilometres inside Ukraine.
The bottom was hit by eight Russian missiles early Sunday. Though Russia claimed to have killed “international mercenaries,” Ukrainian authorities denied that and stated all 35 who died have been Ukrainians.
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Magrou stated the assault might have been an try by Russia to discourage worldwide volunteers from enlisting within the international legion, however he additionally stated all these killed have been Ukrainians.
“We will affirm that there have been no foreigners killed,” he stated.
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The participation of so-called international fighters in armed conflicts shouldn’t be unusual, however it’s controversial, with specialists warning that their involvement can have drawbacks.
“One concern is that folks see and do issues that traumatize them,” stated Colin Clarke, director of analysis on the Soufan Group intelligence and safety consultancy.
“That is conflict, and it’s an intense conflict. There may be concern that legions of younger males might return to Europe scarred from the horrors of this battle, resulting in points of their international locations of origin.”
One other fear is that international volunteers grow to be disillusioned that their residence authorities aren’t doing sufficient for Ukraine and “develop deep anti-government grievances which, in some instances, might result in violent extremism,” Clarke stated.
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The Worldwide Legion is the nation’s solely armed group for worldwide volunteers that’s affiliated with the Ukrainian forces. Recruits are despatched to models below Ukrainian command and should obey orders and observe the foundations of conflict.
Solely candidates with a navy background are accepted, stated Magrou, including that Ukrainian officers have been making an attempt to display screen out these not proper for the duty.
“Aside from the truth that we’re in search of expertise clearly, we’re in search of folks which might be appropriate to serve within the armed forces,” he stated in an interview in Lviv, western Ukraine.
“We’ve turned away quite a lot of folks based mostly on suitability, based mostly on psychological well being screenings, so we’re making an attempt to do that the best means.”
“In the event that they wish to go and get killed with out having any precise have an effect on on the battlefield, they will be a part of a few of these volunteer battalions which might be doing precisely that. That’s not what we’re in for.”
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Born in France, Magrou is a Norwegian citizen. He was working for a legislation agency in Kyiv when the conflict began and was the primary to signal a contract to hitch the international legion, he stated.
He likened the battle to the Spanish civil conflict, which attracted 1000’s of internationals decided to battle fascism. “I believe that’s the closest instance that we’ve in historical past to any such scenario,” he stated.
He stated he had no military background, however emphasised the worldwide legion wouldn’t be accommodating foreigners until that they had beforehand served in an armed drive.
“The message we wish to get throughout is that we’re actually in search of folks with fight expertise, as a result of we’re not a military faculty,” Magrou stated.
“I imply, we’ll full coaching for those who want a little bit of high up, or have already expertise however will not be educated for specific weapons system, or for specific sort of actions we’ll full the coaching with no matter is required,” he stated.
“However we’re not right here to coach folks from scratch. We don’t have the time, we don’t have the sources.”
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