The War in Ukraine has attracted foreign volunteer fighters globally, including a notable participation of Latin Americans supporting both Ukraine and Russia. This article delves into the roles, motivations, and contributions of these Latin American fighters, highlighting units like the Bolivar Battalion consisting mainly of Latin Americans supporting Ukraine. Financing for these fighters comes from various sources, including self-funding, Ukrainian embassies, private firms, and individual donors.
- Latin American volunteers have been involved in the Ukraine conflict since 2014, with numbers growing significantly after Russia’s invasion in 2022. Their exact number ranges from several hundred to over a thousand.
- Latin Americans supporting Ukraine mainly serve in the International Legion of Territorial Defence of Ukraine. The Bolívar Battalion, a new unit formed around April 2023, comprises volunteers predominantly from Latin American countries.
- Financing for Latin American volunteers includes self-funding, assistance from Ukrainian embassies, backing from private firms, and support from individual donors.
- Notably, pro-Russian Latin American volunteers like the Spanish-Colombian Alexis Castillo have also participated in the conflict, supporting separatist movements and pro-Russian militias.
- Cuban recruits have been reported in Russian ranks, with the Cuban government uncovering a trafficking ring recruiting Cubans to fight for Russia.