If you want to fly to Ukraine to join the war effort against Russia, a tech executive says that he will front the cash to make it happen.
The Verge originally reported that Anthony Capone, the President of mobile medical services provider DocGo, is the new founder of an LLC solely devoted to sending volunteer militants and medical personnel over to the war zone to defend Ukraine from Russia’s assault. The company, dubbed Ukrainian Democracy LLC, says on its website that it was “formed with the sole purpose of supporting the defense of Ukraine and its people,” and that its founders will provide travel and other expenses for anyone willing to join the effort.
“Ukrainian Democracy LLC’s mission is to support financially, logistically, and by providing the necessary equipment to volunteers from around the world who desire to defend Ukraine but lack the resources to join the International Legion of Defense of Ukraine,” the company alleges.
The Verge spoke with one of the company’s volunteers, a U.S. military veteran and former Army Combat Medic, who confirmed that he was taking a Thursday flight to Warsaw to join the action.
In a recent LinkedIn post, Capone said that the organization had already made contact with over “over 400 volunteers that will be going over to support the defense of Ukraine this week. All have prior military and/or medical trauma experience.” The company’s website further claims at least 21 people have already been deployed to the region.
Capone’s volunteers aren’t alone, either. The horrific humanitarian crisis spawned by Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine has inspired a variety of Westerners to join the fight, and Ukraine is actually encouraging them: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky recently announced the formation of the International Legion of Territorial Defense of Ukraine—an organization meant to facilitate the mobilization of volunteer militants from foreign countries who may want to travel to Ukraine to join the war. Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister, recently claimed that some 22,000 people from 52 different countries had already volunteered as part of this effort. Relevantly, Capone’s organization plans on sending its volunteers into Ukraine via Zelensky’s International Legion, though he clarified to The Verge that a majority of the 400 volunteers are still awaiting approval from the organization.
But while the desire to defend a besieged nation is admirable, it might not ultimately be that great of an idea. The White House and State Department have explicitly warned against civilians traveling to Ukraine to join the war. In fact, they’ve actually been urging Americans in Ukraine to do the contrary: i.e., to get out of dodge.
“Ukrainians have shown their courage and they are calling on every resource and lever they have to defend themselves. We applaud their bravery,” the State Department recently told NBC News. “However, our Travel Advisory remains: U.S. citizens should not travel to Ukraine, and those in Ukraine should depart immediately if it is safe to do so using commercial or other privately available options for ground transportation.”
Aside from the fact that it’s incredibly dangerous, it seems that such volunteering could, in fact, add to the chaos, not help it. Indeed, the prospect of an ever-growing number of Americans and Westerners fighting Russians inside Ukraine clearly has overt geopolitical ramifications—the likes of which aren’t particularly good.