PARIS (AA) – Soldiers from the French army’s foreign legion have been detained in Paris for attempting to join the Ukraine war to fight Russian forces.
Fourteen legionnaires of Ukrainian origin were arrested March 1 on board a bus leaving for Poland.
According to military sources, some of the passengers were suspected to have materials suggesting that they were headed for joining the war.
They were all handed to the Commanding Officer of the Foreign Legion group.
It is not clear whether the 14 soldiers intended to join the war or travel to Poland to help their families fleeing Ukraine.
Gen. Alain Lardet, commander of the Foreign Legion, said since the war erupted last week, Ukrainians have been disturbed and worried about their families.
He estimated around 25 soldiers of Ukrainian origin from the legion have presumably deserted to fight the Russians. “The Legion has cut ties. They are committed to a cause that I do not judge,” he said.
The legion includes an estimated 710 soldiers of Ukrainian origin and 450 of Russian origin.
The Foreign Legion Command is an elite corps of the French army and essentially a fighting force made up of infantry, cavalry, and combat engineers regiments.
The Legion recruits foreign nationals on a contract basis who can serve in all external operations and missions on national territory.
Currently, the force includes 9,000 soldiers from 140 nations. Nearly 90% of legionnaires are foreigners.