Other Western governments were also warning their citizens not to go, and for the same reason: Their governments couldn't help them after they entered Ukraine.
Now, foreign volunteers who defied their governments and ignored their warnings are learning the consequences.
According to The National Pulse, volunteers are being informed that they'll not be able to leave Ukraine anytime soon, which some have likened to "a death warrant."
The outlet reports that foreigners are asked to sign contracts to fight alongside the Ukrainian military with no end dates, making them indefinite enlistments, and while the government in Kyiv has denied that, officials also have not provided any evidence proving otherwise -- such as they have not publicly unveiled contracts so that media outlets can verify whether or not the government is being truthful.
The National Pulse adds:
As the nation’s war with Russia broke out, the International Legion for the Defence of Ukraine was formed, with people from around the globe welcomed – and encouraged – to join the fight. At the beginning of March, Ukrainian President Zelensky announced to his Telegram channel that 16,000 foreigners (the number is now estimated to be 20,000) had volunteered.
Some of the volunteers are former military personnel, while others have joined with little to no combat experience. But despite wanting to join the Ukrainian army, recruits from across the West are being turned off upon their arrival at the Polish border, with many claiming they have been unable to see contracts until they arrive in Ukraine.
Volunteers who continued on with the enlistment process have revealed that, indeed, the contracts for foreign volunteers are indefinite.
The contracts reportedly say that foreign volunteers must join under the "same obligations" as Ukrainian men, with recruits told they'll be paid 7,000 hryvnia per month, or the equivalent of $237.37. Ukraine is currently under martial law, and because of that, anyone signing a contract to join the military between the ages of 18-60 must "remain in the Ukrainian foreign legion for the duration of the war," leaving many to believe they have signed a "death warrant," according to eyewitness accounts, The Economist reports.
In addition, according to other published reports, those who enter Ukraine to fight the Russian invaders have reported very poor vetting procedures as well as violence from Ukrainian officials who mistook them for Russian saboteurs. One British soldier talked about his experience in dealing with Ukrainian military and government officials, claiming to have had his head "slammed" down, while striking him "eight or nine times" which left him with heavy bleeding and a concussion, The National Pulse noted, citing a report from British outlet The Sun.
After the Ukrainian government announced that some foreign nationals had joined the Ukrainian military to fight, the Kremlin warned that there would be "criminal" prosecutions of those fighters if they are captured.
Normally, members of an opposing military are afforded prisoner of war status, but a Russian military spokesman noted recently that any foreigners aiding Ukraine would instead be considered "mercenaries" and treated as such by not being able to "enjoy the status of prisoners of war." According to The Scotsman, the spokesman noted instead that, "at best, they can expect to be prosecuted as criminals.
Furthermore, Russian military officials have said in an announcement that their forces have "killed 180 foreign fighters in Ukraine" and that the destruction would "continue," according to the Jerusalem Post.
So the lesson here is simple: For any foreigners who go to Ukraine to fight Russians, one way or another you're going to wind up dead.