Ukraine military turns volunteers away as 140K Ukrainians come home to fight Russia

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Even while 1.5 million Ukrainians have fled the country amid the Russian invasion in the past two weeks, more than 100,000 Ukrainians and others have flocked to Ukraine in order to fight Russian President Vladimir Putin’s forces, according to Ukraine Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov. Ukrainians on the ground tell Fox News Digital that volunteers have been turned away from the army because it lacks weapons.

“More than 140,000 Ukrainians, mostly men, have returned from Europe,” Reznikov wrote in a Facebook post Monday. “Tens of thousands joined the Territorial Defense Forces. Of course, there are those who run away. But the whole world sees the Ukrainian people fighting for their country.”

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The defense minister added that the military has received “more than 20,000 appeals from foreigners who are ready to come to Ukraine and defend the world from the Russian Nazis on the Ukrainian front” in order to prevent “the Kremlin’s evil” from spreading.

Members of Ukraine's Territorial Defense Forces, volunteer military units of the Armed Forces, train in a city park in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Saturday.

Members of Ukraine’s Territorial Defense Forces, volunteer military units of the Armed Forces, train in a city park in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Saturday.
(AP/Efrem Lukatsky)

Mark Savchuk, Kyiv-based coordinator of the Ukraine Volunteer Journalists Initiative (UVJI), told Fox News Digital that he and a friend attempted to join the military, but they both were turned away.

“I can’t join, because I was specifically told ‘no room,’” Savchuk said. “We are yelling for more weapons because we can’t put more people on the front line. Please give us more weapons, so that all of us can fight.”

Mark Savchuk, Kyiv-based coordinator of the Ukraine Volunteer Journalists Initiative (UVJI).

Mark Savchuk, Kyiv-based coordinator of the Ukraine Volunteer Journalists Initiative (UVJI).

“My friend in Iviv was told to f*** off,” he added. “No guns, they can’t accept more people.”

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Savchuk noted the viral images and videos of unarmed Ukrainians in the south crowding around Russian vehicles in order to slow or stop the advance. “Why would they come unarmed in front of a tank, if they wouldn’t want to fight?” he asked. 

Local residents train close to Kyiv, Ukraine, on Sunday.

Local residents train close to Kyiv, Ukraine, on Sunday.
(AP/Efrem Lukatsky)

Maryan Zablotskyy, a member of the Ukrainian parliament who got his wife and child out of Kyiv, told Fox News Digital that the residents of Kyiv are working to get more supplies in to prepare the city for a Russian assault.

“We are working to get more supplies to Kyiv as the main battleground,” Zablotskyy said. He said that Ukraine “emptied all the stores in [the European Union] for bulletproof vests and are sending them to the army. I’m ordering a pack from Turkey today.” He clarified that Ukraine bought “everything that EU’s gun stores had for sale, or manufacturers in stock.”

Zablotskyy also said Ukraine is “working on Starlink, night vision and thermal scopes supplies.”

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Early Monday morning, Russian forces announced a ceasefire from 10:00 a.m. Moscow time in order to open humanitarian corridors from Kyiv, Mariupol, Kharkiv, and Sumy. Similar ceasefires have broken down in recent days, with both Ukraine and Russia blaming the other.

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