Embassy “impressed” over 200 Netherlands residents joined Ukraine’s foreign legion
The Ukrainian embassy in The Hague said it is "grateful" for the support and solidarity Netherlands residents have shown for the country. The embassy is also "impressed" by the number of people who want to join the foreign legion Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky plans to set up. According to Honorary Consul for Ukraine Karel Burger Dirven, over 200 people have signed up to fight for Ukraine.
"There is no greater act of courage and more meaningful expression of European patriotism than to stand shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine's military as it fights valiantly to defend European freedom and values," the embassy said in a statement.
The embassy would not say how many people signed up to fight in defense of Ukraine against Russia's invasion "due to the sensitivity of the subject and the legislation surrounding the protection of personal data." "Any information in the media about the number of volunteers is pure speculation," a staff member said.
Dozens of Dutch people registered to fight alongside Ukrainian soldiers, as did many others who are originally from Poland and Ukraine, Karel Burger Dirven said to Nieuwsuur on Tuesday evening. The honorary consul refused to elaborate on the exact numbers of people who signed up to defend Ukraine but did say that over 200 have reported to the Ukrainian embassy in The Hague.
On Tuesday, several businesses that sell army equipment reported high demand for things like bulletproof vests and helmets. The buyers want to send equipment to Ukraine or use it to participate in the war, the stores said when asked. A spokesperson for the Veterans Platform said that he has "no indication yet" that veterans will fight in Ukraine.
On Monday, Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren told parliament that Netherlands residents are not prohibited from enlisting in foreign armed forces. "That is only if you enlist in a war to which the Netherlands is also a party." She stressed that the Netherlands issued red travel advice for Ukraine, strongly discouraging any trips to the country. "It's simply extremely dangerous," she said.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times.