White House Discourages U.S. Citizens From Joining the Fight in Ukraine

by Matthew Memrick
white-house-discourages-us-citizens-from-joining-fight-ukraine
(MARCUS YAM / LOS ANGELES TIMES)

There’s been a week of fighting in Ukraine, and White House officials are urging U.S. citizens to avoid fighting there.

There are always men and women that rise to the challenge. One Texas Iraq War veteran did this week.

Ukraine Needs World’s Help, But U.S. Wants Americans To Sit This One Out

Yes, Ukraine needs all the help it can get against Russia.

President Volodymyr Zelensky on Sunday urged all “citizens of the world” to go to Ukraine to join the fight against Russia’s invasion. The country took it a step further by temporarily lifting visa requirements for international volunteers to enter the country. 

On the other hand, American officials hope to be supportive with words and other actions without getting too involved. It’s not a sign of weakness, but in this modern time, do we want a war on a global scale?

“Ukrainians have shown their courage, and they are calling on every resource and lever they have to defend themselves,” deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said recently.

When asked about Americans going to Ukraine, Jean-Pierre said the United States “applauds” the country’s “bravery” but said the travel advisory stays in effect. 

When another reporter asked about Americans going to the region to fight, Jean-Pierre referred to the State Department’s travel advisory again.

Jean-Pierre backed the State Department’s travel advisories and warnings in helping Americans make safe decisions.

On Thursday, the State Department issued a “Level 4: Do Not Travel” advisory. It also urges Americans not to travel to Ukraine, citing the armed conflict and COVID-19. Officials ask U.S. citizens in Ukraine to leave immediately.

Other Countries Are Letting Their Citizens Go Fight

Meanwhile, England is letting volunteers go to fight. Sky News said hundreds showed up earlier this week with plans to help in the battle.

Those that said they were going to fight listed some pretty good reasons. Some wanted to “make a difference.” Others wanted to fight to protect innocent women and children unable to escape the country. Finally, a few said they were young and fit, so “why not?” 

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has expressed her support for these British citizens going to Ukraine. However, The Guardian newspaper interviewed several present and former Conservatives who warned that anyone volunteering for combat in Ukraine would be breaking the law.

Former attorney general Dominic Grieve said an 1870 U.K. law said it’s illegal to enlist. He said volunteers can’t enlist in a foreign army at war with a country at peace with the U.K.

Sky News said Hungary and Iran were among those volunteering to join the fight against Russia.

When a reporter asked one man why he’d go to risk his life, that 60-year-old named Brian Grove responded, “well, somebody has to.”

Grove, who served in the Territorial Army, told the interviewer he was ready to “get on the plane tomorrow.”

Outsider.com