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Foreigners allowed to serve in Ukraine's National Guard

by Abbey Fenbert February 22, 2024 12:43 AM 2 min read
Two soldiers stand amid the trees, as members of the 1st Presidential Brigade of the National Guard fire mortar shells from the Kreminna Forest at Russian positions on Feb. 17, 2024 in, Ukraine. (Scott Peterson/Getty Images)
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Foreigners and "stateless persons" will be allowed to serve in Ukraine's National Guard, according to a decree signed Feb. 21 by President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The announcement, published on the presidential office website, comes as the government attempts to ramp up mobilization efforts in 2024. The new law goes into immediate effect as of Feb. 21.

"Foreigners who are legally on the territory of Ukraine, have not been previously convicted, and meet the requirements for military service as defined by the law of Ukraine 'On Military Duty and Military Service' may be accepted on a voluntary basis (under contract) for military service in the National Guard of Ukraine," the decree says.

Foreign citizens are already able to serve in Ukraine's Armed Forces if they meet certain requirements. Following Russia's full-scale invasion in February 2022, Zelensky called on "citizens of the world" to join in Ukraine's defense, forming the International Legion.

The National Guard is a part of the Interior Ministry and is responsible for public security. National Guard personnel have also been fighting on the front lines since the outbreak of Russia's full-scale war.

Zelensky made several changes to National Guard leadership in 2023, including appointing Oleksandr Pivnenko as commander in July and replacing four deputy commanders in November.

Investigation: Apparent Russian disinformation group posing as ex-president Poroshenko targets foreign fighters in Ukraine
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