U.S. veterans volunteer to fight in Ukraine. US veteran Matthew Parker served 22 years in the US Army. When he heard about the Russian invasion of Ukraine, he remembered a Ukrainian-American soldier who served with the U.S. military in Iraq and decided to help Ukrainians defend their homeland.
U.S. veterans volunteer to fight in Ukraine
He told VOA that he decided to go to war out of justice and friendship. “One of the service members who was with me in Iraq was from Ukraine,” he said. “He became a U.S. citizen, joined the Army, and he told me about his hometown. He told me about his family and how they Proud. I remember him telling me about his sister.”
“Now, I think I might be able to protect his mother or his sister or his family by going to Ukraine.”
Parker, who fought in Bosnia and Iraq, wasn’t the only volunteer .
A representative of the Ukrainian embassy in Washington told VOA that 3,000 U.S. volunteers responded to Ukraine’s call to join an international battalion that will help resist the Russian aggressor. There are also many people from other countries who volunteered, mostly from ex-Soviet countries like Georgia and Belarus.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a video posted Thursday on the Telegraph channel that an “international army” of 16,000 foreign volunteers was being called to “participate in the defense of Ukraine, Europe and the world.”
“We have nothing to lose but our own freedom,” Zelensky said.
Zelensky’s call was echoed in a Facebook post by the Ukrainian Armed Forces, who stressed that they seek combat experience The people who “stand side by side with Ukraine in the fight against the Russian invasion.” The government has temporarily lifted visa requirements for the volunteers.
Parker has gray hair and four grown children. For his part, Zelensky had already decided to go to Ukraine before he made his appeal.
He and 12 former comrades initially planned to fly to Poland before arriving at the Ukrainian border to register with other Ukrainian volunteers for the Territorial Defense Forces.
The way forward became clearer after Zelensky called for an international corps, and the Ukrainian government instituted a procedure for those who wanted to help.
“Without procedures, we just arrive at the border. We don’t speak the language, trying to convince the people involved. That way, they know what we’ve been through. They know our training. They’re able to get us where they need us,” he said. Place.”
Parker is from South Carolina. He said he served as an instructor in the U.S. Army and led troops into battle.
“They can put me wherever they need me,” he said, “or they just put me as a regiment instructor, teaching the Ukrainians how to use different weapons systems. So now they have a choice, they can put me in the war. , or let me be an instructor, we are all willing to help.”
Parker believes that going to Ukraine to fight is not only about defending Ukraine. Like many volunteers, he believes that if Russia wins, Americans’ own democratic rights will be threatened. “The Ukrainians are fighting thugs
,” he said. “Their opponents don’t abide by international law, they don’t care about women and children, and we’ve fought these kinds of people in the past.” similar wars.
“They fought alongside me. I knew by their side how they felt about their country being attacked. Now another free country like Georgia is being attacked,” he said.
Parker said he would leave his home in South Carolina . Nathan’s safety training business and family are heading to Ukraine as early as next week.
Russian President Vladimir Putin “has taken Crimea,” he said. “It shouldn’t have happened. This is the weakness of the international community. He cannot be allowed to take the rest of Ukraine.”