Chicagoans Ready to Join the Resistance in Ukraine Amid War Against Russia

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Chicagoans, along with a growing number of Americans across the country, are volunteering to head to Ukraine to join the ongoing fight against Russia.

Ramades Rodriguez, a suburban police officer, said he's ready to fight or volunteer, and just wants to help in any way he can.

"Either we're fighting or volunteering or whatever, whatever they can use my labor -- whatever I can do," Rodriguez said.

He previously served in the Army National Guard and worked as a police officer in Norridge prior to starting his own business a few years ago.

Rodriguez said he reached out to the Ukrainian Embassy after watching the attacks on Ukraine while watching the news, hoping to put his skills to use.

Across the United States, people are planning to join the resistance in Ukraine, ordering passports to travel overseas, according to Davis Ribardo, who helped start Volunteers For Ukraine.

"We have received thousands of requests for 'how can I help?'" Ribardo said. "Everybody is looking to take whatever skills they have and support the people impacted from the conflict."

The organization connects people looking to volunteer with contacts on the ground in Ukraine and Poland, which includes a vetting process for potential volunteers.

"To go into that environment with the right training equipment and support network – can put you at risk and make things worse," Ribardo added.

Maria, a Ukrainian-native, left her home in Chicago to travel to Europe in order to help her home country. Speaking five languages, she's assisting refugees in Poland and plans to join the resistance.

"We have to stand up. We have to fight -- fight for democracy, fight for freedom," Maria said.

As of Thursday, Ukrainian officials estimate some 20,000 foreign fighters have joined the newly-created international legion, though it's unclear how many are American.

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