Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Thursday that the first of 16,000 foreigners who have volunteered to fight for his country have arrived to help battle Russian invaders.
"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," Zelenskyy said in a video shared to his Telegraph page Thursday.
"We have nothing to lose but our own freedom," he added.
According to The Washington Post, foreign citizens have been fighting for Ukraine since 2014, when Russian separatists seized an eastern region of the country. However, The Post says the fighters arriving in Ukraine now are "far beyond" what had previously been seen.
While it's unclear from which countries the volunteers had traveled, some of those arriving in Ukraine may have disobeyed orders from their own government about traveling to the country to fight. The U.S. and the U.K. are among the governments that have instructed citizens against volunteering and instead have provided Ukraine with weapons and aid, CNN reports.