Mexican soldier secretly traveled to Ukraine to help defend the country from Russian invasion

A 29-year-old Mexican identified only by the name Luis is one of the 20,000 foreigners who fight alongside the Ukrainian forces against the Russian army, as he moved to the Eastern European country to join the forces fighting the invasion.

The New York Times made a compilation of foreigners who are enlisted to fight alongside the Ukrainian army, in which Luis appears, who decided to move to the war zone after seeing a photograph of a pregnant woman leaving a bombed-out hospital.

“I saw my sister’s face in that woman,” Luis said in an interview because that was the moment he decided to enlist. The Mexican is in the city of Lviv awaiting military instructions to join one of the combat lines against the Russians.

The Mexican refused to reveal his identity due to the probable repercussions that he may have in Mexico after fighting for a foreign army since he was part of the Mexican Army until ten years ago when he retired.

Luis, who worked as a wedding photographer until his enlistment in Ukraine, fought drug cartels in Mexico while he was part of the Mexican army, so his military experience could be one of the considerations that the Ukrainian authorities took into account to accept the veteran’s help.

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister, Dmytro Kuleba, announced a few days ago that more than 20,000 foreigners have joined the ranks of civilians fighting for the sovereignty of their country against the Russian invasion that began on February 24.

Mexican Omar Aviña, who had been residing in Ukraine for two months before the invasion, had to flee the country just a few days after his wedding with Iryna Volkob, originally from Ukraine.

Aviña and his wife heard the first bombings in the country at the end of February when they were forced to take refuge in a subway station to try to stay alive and avoid being victims of the Russian attack.

Aviña, 32, is a language teacher, in addition to practicing martial arts. He left almost two months ago from Jacona, Michoacán, heading to Ukraine to meet with Iryna’s family and ask for her hand in marriage, but before finishing the preparations, the Russian army attacked the country, forcing him to change his plans and return to Mexico.

Both met in the Chinese city of Beijing five years ago, as they were studying there, she in law and he in physical education. They fell in love after being friends for several months, which resulted in a relationship that continued even after each returned to their country of origin.

Omar Aviña used his social networks to describe the atmosphere of anxiety that existed in the underground stations, where dozens of families slept on the floors while trying to calm down before the roar of the explosions on the surface. The young Mexican wandered through the corridors and, like hundreds of Ukrainian citizens, wondered how long they would remain safe in that shelter.

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