Can Poles serve in Ukraine? 

The 61st day of Russia's invasion of Ukraine is two months too long in the war. Despite the fact that Ukrainian troops are fighting bravely and successfully repelling attacks, innocent people and those who fight for freedom are dying. The President of Ukraine, Volodomyr Zelensky, encourages willing foreigners to join the Ukrainian army. The creation of an international legion is to bring together those who are ready to fight. Can Poles serve in the war in Ukraine? How can they join?

Moments after the attack by Russian troops, the President of Ukraine decided to create the International Territorial Defense Legion. The Legion is a place for those foreigners who decide to participate in the repulsion of Russian troops.

Who can join the Ukrainian army?

Pursuant to the regulations, a Polish citizen may accept service in a foreign army or in a foreign military organization with the consent of the minister responsible for internal affairs. Former professional soldiers need the consent of the Minister of National Defense.

If a Polish citizen is also a citizen of another state, permanently resides on its territory and wants to serve in the armed forces of that state, he does not have to apply for permission to serve.

Pursuant to the provisions, consent may be granted only to a person who "has a regulated relationship to military service, does not have a crisis assignment, mobilization assignment, labor mobilization assignment or organizational and mobilization assignment, and the competent military commander of supplements does not conduct proceedings on granting it to a citizen of any of these assignments. '

At the same time, it is crucial that this service "does not infringe the interests of the Republic of Poland, is not prohibited by international law, and at the same time does not affect the tasks performed by the Polish armed forces."

Pursuant to the Act, "consent is not granted in the event of mobilization, in time of war and in the event of the introduction of martial law or a state of emergency throughout the territory of the Republic of Poland".

How and where to submit an application?

Consent to serve in a foreign army or a foreign military organization may only be obtained in response to a written request from a Polish citizen. What documents should be attached to the application?

  • certificate of no criminal record from the National Criminal Register,
  • the applicant's declaration (in writing) that he is not disclosed in the National Register of Debtors,
  • certificate of the competent head of the competent tax office that there are no tax arrears,
  • certificate of the competent branch of the Social Insurance Institution or the Agricultural Social Insurance Fund that there are no arrears in respect of social security and health insurance contributions,
  • certificate from the National Court Register that there are no insolvent debtors in the register.

Polish citizens who live or stay abroad for more than 3 months, submit the application together with a complete set of documents through the Polish consular office or embassy in the country of residence.

Those who chose to serve without proper consent risk imprisonment from 3 months to 5 years.

Joanna Karp