The 550 Canadian soldiers that heeded the call of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to join the fight against the Russians have formed their own battalion within the Ukrainian army stationed in Kyiv, the country’s Territory Defense Legion has revealed.
Former Canadian MP Borys Wrzesnewskyj, who is responsible for assisting Ukrainian diplomats in organizing recruitment for the International Legion, explained that according to his estimates at least 1,000 Canadians have applied to travel to Ukraine, having filed their applications online or through contacting the Ukrainian embassy and consulates. The embassy then vets applicants with those cleared for duty sent to receive training in Poland.
Borys Wrzesnewskyj pointed out however, that many of the volunteers also simply travel to Ukraine via their own means, without following the official process.
“What is so heartfelt is that we have so many Canadian ex-military who are stepping forward and understand that this is just so fundamentally wrong,” Wrzesnewskyj said about the response to Russia’s invasion.
“They by nature are protectors and they are willing to step forward and travel to Ukraine.”
Among the volunteers are many military veterans which Ukrainian diplomats have stated gives them a priority status, but they have aso explained that Ukraine will welcome everyone ready to fight for Ukraine.
The International Legion’s representatives have said that Ukraine would like for airlines to ensure free flights to Europe for the volunteers. For now, they have to pay out of their own pockets or use funds gathered by local churches and other groups.
The representatives are of the opinion that if every airline would give from five to ten seats to the volunteers, they could immediately recruit around 20,000 people from across the whole world for Ukraine’s cause.