As the Ukrainian government honors Americans fighting in its foreign legion, recruits should be wary of risks

Darrell Todd Maurina
6 min readJun 1

So far, at least 16 American citizens have died fighting on behalf of Ukraine. The Washington Post published an interesting article on the US Memorial Day this week regarding how the Ukrainian government, and its supporters in the United States, pay respect to Americans who have fought for a different country than their own.

Since our own Pulaski County is named for Casimir Pulaski — a Polish nobleman who decided to leave Poland and fight for America during the Revolutionary War — we shouldn’t be too quick to dismiss the motives of those who decided to wear a foreign uniform.

Here are some key quotes from that article: “The two military officers, crisply attired in blue dress uniforms, ascended the front porch of a single-family home. One clutched a vinyl case containing an ornate white urn and, within, the ashes of Army veteran Andrew Peters. The scene that April evening in Marshfield, Wis., was strikingly similar to the thousands of casualty assistance calls made by members of the U.S. military over 20 years of war in Afghanistan and Iraq, with the officers offering condolences on behalf of a grateful nation as the soldier’s parents, John and Heather, shuddered with grief. But there was a significant difference: Peters, 28, had died in February while fighting as a volunteer with the Ukrainian Foreign Legion, and the respects paid to his father and mother were delivered not from the U.S. government but by Ukrainian military personnel dispatched from their embassy in Washington.”

Some of those Americans who have been killed have come to the attention of the highest levels of leadership in the Russian military and the Wagner group, a de-facto private army paid by the Russians to do things President Vladimir Putin says the regular Russian military can’t get done:

“(Former US Green Beret Nick Maimer’s) death, apparently in a building collapse somewhere near the besieged city of Bakhmut earlier this month, was disclosed in a poorly lit video showing Wagner mercenary group leader Yevgeniy Prigozhin. A close associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Prigozhin and his private army have assumed a lead role in the war. In the video, he stands near a lifeless body and…