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Poland prepares Ukrainian Legion, 'several thousand' already registered

by The Kyiv Independent news desk July 11, 2024 6:07 PM 2 min read
Ukrainian soldiers rest during a military training with French servicemen at a military training compound at an undisclosed location in Poland, on April 4, 2024 (Wojtek Radwanski / AFP) 
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Poland has begun preparing the first Ukrainian Legion of volunteers with "several thousand" people already having registered to participate, Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski, said on July 11.

The legion was officially announced as part of the security agreement signed by President Volodymyr Zelensky and Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk on July 8, which laid out further developments in political, economic, and military cooperation between Ukraine and Poland.

Unlike other specific legions in the Ukrainian Armed Forces, such as the Georgian Legion, the Freedom of Russia Legion, and the Belarusian Pahonia Regiment, the legion will be made up of Ukrainians.

"In Poland, we are starting to prepare the first Ukrainian brigade consisting of volunteers in Poland," Sikorski said at the NATO Summit in Washington in comments reported by Interfax.

"We have up to a million Ukrainians of both sexes, and several thousand of them have already registered to participate.

"And what is interesting, many of them really want to serve and rotate our compatriots, but they say 'we don't want to be sent into battle without being properly trained and equipped'," he added.

Sikorski confirmed that Poland will train and equip the Ukrainian Legion which will be sent to Ukraine as a unit and given the right to return to Poland after completing a rotation.

Polish media reported on July 10 that hundreds of Ukrainians in Poland had expressed interest in joining the new legion.

The legion would most likely be trained in military bases that have already been training Ukrainian soldiers, as around 20,000 Ukrainian soldiers have been trained in Poland since the start of Russia's full-scale invasion, RMF said.

Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski said on May 31 that Warsaw considered Ukraine's request for military instructors to be sent to Ukraine, but "came to the conclusion that it would be both safer and more effective to train a Ukrainian unit formed of Ukrainians in Poland."

Sikorski said in April that forcibly returning men of draft age to Ukraine is "ethically ambiguous" and Ukraine, rather than Poland, will have to "take the initiative" in the process.

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