French Foreign Legion and Ukraine

Last week, the commander-in-chief of the French Foreign Legion made an address to his Ukrainian legionnaires and their families, in view of the current sad conflict in their country.

In the video posted below (made by a Ukrainian and a Russian senior NCOs), General Lardet, the head of the Legion, recalled that regardless of the gravity of the situation, all legionnaires had pledged their allegiance to France, which they promised to protect for the duration of their service, with honor and fidelity.


LEGIO PATRIA NOSTRA (The Legion is our homeland). It is with these words that you, the legionnaires of Ukrainian origin or of the region in particular, wear the White kepi: “We swear to serve France with honor and fidelity”.

I wrote this to you just one year ago in our Kepi Blanc magazine “In the name of Fidelity”: Legionnaires are not stateless and the Legion does not ask them in any way to disavow their homeland, let alone to fight it.

But the Legion does not hand out causes to fight for, no matter how beautiful they may be. It was created for the service of France, welcoming volunteers. Our honor is not to choose our causes but to serve the mission which is sacred.

Your loyalty as a legionnaire is the heart of our commitment. It is for the time you have decided in your contract, unsurpassable.

Is loyalty painful? The history of the Legion for almost 200 years has been filled with pain but honor, the one that remains above all else. One of our elders said, “You can ask a lot of a soldier, especially to die, that’s his job. We cannot ask him to cheat, to deny himself, to contradict himself, to lie, to perjure himself.”

My dear legionnaires of Ukraine or of the region, concerned by this war, I sympathize with your inner turmoil. Your homeland is bleeding and suffering, your families are affected by this war. Yet, for those few who are tempted to run to where the fire is raging, I tell you that wars are only won if everyone does their job, where they are. As a Legion Father I know I must encourage you in this path of honor: do not perjure yourselves, for yourselves and for the Legion, maintain your service with honor and loyalty.

Who knows if tomorrow your unit will not be engaged, where will you be? You will then be missed by your partner, brother in arms like any legionnaire.

Dear Legion families, some of whom have suffered, be assured of the support of the Foreign Legion. In order to facilitate the safety of families fleeing the conflict zone, I have authorized legionnaires who so desire to travel to a country bordering the Ukraine to collect them.

Please be aware that any legionnaire concerned by this conflict may request the Foreign Legion to help him or her to receive his or her family in an emergency, in compliance with the regulations applicable in France, in particular according to the evolution of the directives concerning the consideration of refugees.

Legion solidarity, a corollary of the legionnaire’s total commitment to our country, will thus be able to provide material or administrative assistance to the extent and according to its priorities. In this context, the Legion is working on the establishment of a listening unit to best meet your needs.

Let us be united and responsible for our Foreign Legion.

However, the General also assured that each Ukrainian legionnaire is allowed to request a special two-week leave to go to one of the countries neighbouring Ukraine, to help to keep their families safe. In the current Legion, which number 9,000 men, about 700 legionnaires are Ukrainians; some 200 of them have already got a French citizenship.

Besides, the Foreign Legion launched a free telephone number for those displaced families of the Ukrainian legionnaires who could be “displaced” or “refugees” in France following the invasion of the Ukrainian territory by Russia, to provide them with the material, administrative and financial assistance.

This phone service, which can be reached 24 hours a day, will be staffed by people who speak Ukrainian, Belarusian, Russian and French. All calls will be taken into account. In order to facilitate the handling of “refugee” or “displaced” families, and as far as possible, calls to this cell should be made by the legionnaires concerned themselves rather than their families.

Priority will be given to parents, spouses, children and minor brothers and sisters of the legionnaires of Ukrainian origin. Other possibilities of accommodation can be studied according to the needs.

This Solidarity free cell phone is placed under the command of the Foreign Legion Command in Aubagne. It works in close liaison with the regimental listening cell phones.

Related posts:
Foreign Legion: 2020 Change of Command
2e REI: Visited by COMLE
Foreign Legion: 2021 Change of Command