With war raging in Ukraine, thousands of patriotic Ukrainians have returned from abroad to fight the Russian invaders, Ukraine Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov announced on Saturday.
Reznikov announced on Twitter that 66,224 Ukrainians living abroad had returned and taken up arms against Russia.
“66224. That’s how many men returned from abroad at this moment to defend their Country from the horde,” tweeted Reznikov on Saturday.
“These are 12 more combat and motivated brigades! Ukrainians, we are invincible!,” he added.
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The return of these Ukrainians, however, is not the only set of reinforcements Kyiv has received since the invasion began last week.
A couple of days earlier, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky announced that 16,000 foreign fighters had come into the country to help Ukrainians fight off the Russian invasion. Zelensky added that the arriving fighters were only the “first batch,” suggesting that more were on the way.
“Ukraine is already greeting foreign volunteers. [The] first 16,000 are already on their way to protect freedom and life for us, and for all,” Zelensky had said.
Since then, Ukraine has set up an enlistment portal for combat volunteers from various nations, excluding Russia of course: the site tells Russia to “go f**k yourself,” referring to the now-iconic line uttered by Ukrainian soldiers on Snake Island who faced a Russian warship.
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Since the Ukraine invasion began on February 24 after Vladimir Putin announced a “special military operation” to “denazify” Ukraine, hundreds of soldiers and civilians alike have been killed on both sides of the conflict.
Despite losses, however, Russian forces have made significant military gains in Ukraine: while Russian troops have laid siege to the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, Ukraine’s second largest city Kharkiv and the port city of Mariupol are also under siege. The southern city of Kherson has already fallen, and many fear that Odessa could be next.