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Army of Shadows

Over there: breaking through myths about the Ukrainian foreign legion

It sounds so romantic: fighters who answered President Volodymyr Zelensky’s call for help and traveled halfway around the world to uphold democracy in Ukraine. However, as Seth Harp reports in the July issue of Harper’s Magazine, there is no real Ukrainian foreign legion. Harp, who traveled to the war-torn nation in March and stayed through all of April, found that these would-be freedom fighters were untrained, unorganized, and unaffiliated; though units of soldiers (mostly older American or British veterans) exist now, they don’t match the numbers touted by the Ukrainian government or international media. In this episode, Harp—himself a veteran—describes what separates this conflict from other wars that have taken place over the past twenty years, the benefits that can be reaped from claiming a false foreign legion, and what it’s like to get high in a war zone.

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March 2020

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