Six Americans are part of a 10-person special operations group that has agreed to go fight in Ukraine following an invasion by Russian forces last week.
The group is responding to a request from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy for volunteers to help in his country’s battle against its much bigger, more powerful neighbor, according to a report.
In addition to the six Americans, three Britons and one German make up the force. All 10 have special operations and combat experience.
“They want to be among the first to officially join the new International Legion of the Territorial Defense of Ukraine that Zelensky announced Sunday,” text messages reviewed by BuzzFeed News.
“Two former American infantry officers are also making plans to come to Ukraine to provide ‘leadership’ for the group,” the report added.
The news comes as the Ukrainian leader announced the creation of an International Legion of Territorial Defense that will allow non-citizens of Ukraine to join the effort.
“Anyone who wants to join the defense of Ukraine, Europe and the world can come and fight side by side with the Ukrainians against the Russian war criminals,” Zelensky said in a .
“A separate subdivision is being formed of foreigners entitled the International Legion for the Territorial Defense of Ukraine. There is no greater contribution which you can make for the sake of peace,” he added.
During a Saturday briefing with the media, Zelensky invited “every friend of Ukraine” to join.
“Every friend of Ukraine who wants to join Ukraine in defending the country, please come over. We will give you weapons. It will be announced very shortly, how this can be done. Everyone who is defending Ukraine is a hero,” he said.
“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,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba added on Twitter on Saturday.
While the Ukrainian leaders may have expected most of the volunteers to come from Europe, a growing number of Americans are showing interest in joining the fight.
Newsweek reported, “Many veterans contacted the Military Times news service, asking how they can join the fight.”
The International Legion of Territorial Defense requires the following steps for participation:
Step 1. Contact the Embassy of Ukraine in your country with the intention to join the International Legion of Territorial Defense of Ukraine.
Step 2. Get briefed on what documents and gear (equipment) you will require.
Step 3. Report to the embassy with a package of documents for an interview with a defense attaché and for visa clearance – with a consul.
Step 4. Write an application for admission to the territorial defense of the Armed Forces of Ukraine for contracted military service on a voluntary basis (defense attaché provides assistance).
Step 5. Get instructions on how to arrive in Ukraine, the documents and equipment required.
Step 6. Cross into Ukraine in a designated manner.
Step 7. Upon arrival at the assembly point in Ukraine, join the Foreign Legion of Territorial Defense of Ukraine (sign a contract) and together with soldiers from other countries and Ukrainian soldiers join the fight against Russian invaders.