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Foreigners Can Serve In Ukrainian Army

Foreigners can now serve in the Ukrainian armed forces under a new law.
Foreigners can now serve in the Ukrainian armed forces under a new law.

KYIV -- Lawmakers in Kyiv have legalized the service of foreigners in the Ukrainian armed forces.

The draft law was approved in its second reading by parliament on October 6.

Lawmakers had earlier approved in first reading a draft law that simplifies the process for foreigners serving in the Ukrainian Army to receive citizenship.

The second draft law must be voted on again before being sent to President Petro Poroshenko for his signature, which is necessary to become law.

According to the bill, foreign nationals who serve or have served in Ukraine's army will be eligible to obtain citizenship after living in the country for three years, instead of the current five years.

The bill also says foreign nationals who were decorated with a Ukrainian national medal for outstanding actions during their military service can become citizens without being required to speak fluent Ukrainian, provide documents confirming they can support themselves, or have residence permits.

Many volunteers from other countries have joined Ukrainian armed forces and volunteer brigades in the wake of the military conflict between Ukraine and Russia-backed separatists in the east that began last year and has left at least 8,900 people dead.