Good long read on foreign fighters in Ukraine. They aren’t all scamsters, but it’s a situation that tends to draw the Grifting Class:
The interviews and research reveal a series of deceptions, mistakes and squabbles that have hindered the volunteer drive that began after Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022, when President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine called for help. “Every friend of Ukraine who wants to join Ukraine in defending the country, please come over,” he said. “We will give you weapons.”
Thousands answered the call. Some joined military groups like the International Legion, which Ukraine formed for foreign fighters. Others took roles in support or fund-raising. With Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, under attack, there was little time for vetting arrivals. So people with problematic pasts, including checkered or fabricated military records, became entrenched in the Legion and a constellation of other volunteer groups.
Asked about these problems, the Ukrainian military did not address specific issues but did say that it was on guard because Russian agents regularly tried to infiltrate volunteer groups. “We investigated such cases and handed them over to law enforcement agencies,” said Andriy Cherniak, a representative for Ukrainian military intelligence.
There’s a pretty narrow selection of human beings that should consider serving in Ukraine; recent military experience, sufficient means for transport and upkeep, dedication to the Ukrainian cause, and finally willingness to serve (directly or indirectly) under Ukrainian commanders. There are some people who fit that bill, and in some cases they’ve served effectively, but obviously there’s plenty of space for adventurers. The more successful International Brigades weren’t just bunches of yahoos who decided to vacation in Spain; they were recruited, trained, equipped, and ideologically managed by state actors. The US and NATO, mostly for very good reasons, have not decided to embark on this kind of program with respect to Ukraine, so the volunteers groups are necessarily going to be fractious and uneven.