When war broke out in Ukraine, thousands of volunteers from many Western countries, including the United States, rushed to Ukraine to participate in repelling the Russian invasion and put their military expertise at the disposal of Ukrainians.
Now, after a year of intense fighting, some reports suggest that many groups of foreign volunteers are engaged in internal conflicts among themselves, hindering their participation in the fighting.
A lengthy report in the New York Times revealed numerous imbalances among U.S. volunteers in Ukraine, some related to claims of non-existent military expertise, waste of resources, and attempts to profit from the war.
Among the volunteers fighting on the front lines in Ukraine and having access to advanced U.S. weapons there are people who cannot be allowed to approach the battlefield of any U.S. wars.
The New York Times reported that it reviewed documents of more than 100 pages from within volunteer groups, and spoke to more than 30 people, including volunteer fighters, fundraisers, donors and U.S. and Ukrainian officials, to discuss the sensitive information contained in those documents, noting that some of them revealed their names while some preferred to speak to the newspaper on condition of anonymity.
Lies, betrayal and lack of experience
Among the U.S. fighters in Ukraine is a retired U.S. Marine colonel from Virginia who is under a U.S. federal investigation for possible involvement in the illegal export of military technology. They also include a former U.S. Army soldier who arrived in Ukraine to fight but betrayed his comrades and fled to Russia.
Another American from Connecticut who lied about his military service in the U.S. Army publishes a live broadcast from a battlefield in Ukraine, showing his exact location, in which he boasts of his easy access to U.S. weapons.
Another U.S. volunteer, a former construction worker, is working on a plan to use fake passports to smuggle fighters from Pakistan and Iran into the war in Ukraine.
An Ohio volunteer fighter who falsely claimed to be a U.S. Marine was embroiled in a leadership struggle in one of Ukraine's largest volunteer groups.
The role of the US administration
The newspaper said that such figures have found a place on the battlefronts to defend Ukraine because of the role that the United States has set itself in the war, as the administration of US President Joe Biden is committed to sending weapons and money, but does not send professional troops to participate in the Ukrainian war.
This has allowed some who cannot be allowed to participate in America's war to lead the frontlines in Ukraine, and many weapons and military equipment have been unconditionally placed at their disposal.
The New York Times highlighted that its research and interviews revealed a series of acts of deception, mistakes and disagreements between volunteer fighters in Ukraine that hampered the volunteer campaign that began after the Russian invasion of Ukraine at the end of February 2022, when Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky launched an appeal asking all friends of Ukraine who wish to join the fight in defense of it to come to the country, stressing that Ukraine will give them weapons to do so.
The report touched on the circumstances in which the International Fighters Corps was formed in Ukraine, and quoted an official of the International Corps, which was hastily formed by the Ukrainian government, that at the beginning of the war he spent about 10 minutes or less checking the background of each volunteer to fight.
Although Ukrainian officials indicated at the start of the war that there were about 20,1500 volunteers in the International Corps, those already recruited far below that number, according to the New York Times, which quoted informed figures as saying that the number of IFRC members is currently estimated at about <>,<>.