In the weeks since Russia invaded Ukraine, the United States has vowed not to send its own military forces into the conflict. However, some American citizens are voluntarily enlisting in the International Legion for the Territorial Defense of Ukraine, a group of unpaid, non-Ukrainian volunteers who want to fight against Russia.
A new YouGov poll, conducted March 10-11, indicates that most Americans (56%) support allowing U.S. citizens to voluntarily enlist in foreign armies - though 40% overall say this should only be allowed if the foreign army is not fighting against the U.S. While it is technically legal for Americans to fight in foreign armies that are not engaged against American forces, 18% say fighting in foreign armies should not be allowed at all.
It is somewhat unusual, however, for countries to attempt to recruit foreign fighters for their conflicts. The U.S. government has warned Americans against traveling to Ukraine and fighting alongside their forces in part because of the national security and legal implications of Americans being involved in the war.
By 50% to 24%, Americans support allowing U.S. citizens to volunteer to fight in the Ukrainian army. Americans who have served in the military themselves are even more supportive (68% say this should be allowed), as are Americans who are 65 and older (64% support this).
More Americans say that people from the U.S. volunteering to enlist in Ukraine’s army would help (43%), rather than hurt (9%) the country’s resistance. About one in five (19%) do not think American volunteers would make a difference in the war effort, and 29% are uncertain. Americans with a military background (57%) and retirees (55%) are the most confident that this would help Ukraine’s resistance.
See the toplines and crosstabs from these YouGov Polls:
- Which comes closest to your view about whether American citizens should be allowed to voluntarily enlist in foreign armies?
- Should American citizens be allowed to volunteer to fight in the Ukrainian army?
- Do you think people from the U.S. volunteering to enlist in Ukraine’s army would help or hurt Ukraine’s resistance?
Methodology: This Daily Agenda survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 5,898 U.S. adults interviewed online on March 10 - 11, 2022. The samples were weighted to be representative of the U.S. population, based on gender, age, race, education, U.S. census region, and political party.