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Taiwanese delivery person joins Ukrainian Foreign Legion on a coin flip

Soldier from Taichung joins Ukrainian Foreign Legion for meaningful memories, not politics

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Li Cheng-ling joins a foreign military unit to defend Ukraine against the Russian invasion. (Facebook, Li Cheng-ling photo)

Li Cheng-ling joins a foreign military unit to defend Ukraine against the Russian invasion. (Facebook, Li Cheng-ling photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Li Cheng-ling (李成零) from central Taiwan recently joined the Ukrainian Foreign Legion to fight against Russia.

According to BBC, Li, a former Uber Eats deliveryman, said he decided to go to Ukraine based on the flip of a coin and hopes the experience will create meaningful memories.

From Taichung, Li introduces himself on Facebook as a foodie who is interested in playing video games and listening to music. He participated in the French Foreign Legion a decade ago and became a delivery person after the COVID pandemic struck in 2020.

With his previous military background, Li was able to pass the exam and join the Ukrainian Foreign Legion. Some netizens called for him to come back to Taiwan to train local soldiers, while some questioned his decision.

According to the report, Li has recently been transferred to eastern Ukraine and four people in his squad have died. He noted the reason he joined the battle was not based on political or moral ideals such as freedom or justice, he just wanted to do something memorable with his life.

Li told the BBC that Taiwanese lack an international perspective and do not understand foreign relations and military affairs. However, he said, there are a number of Taiwanese who want to get rid of the old-fashioned and conservative ways of thinking, but at the same time, they limit their own and others’ behavior by conforming to homogeneity.

Li added that this contradiction gets in the way of Taiwan moving forward. “Countries like China may use this opportunity to invade us,” he said.

Li expressed that if Taiwan were at war with China, he would pass on his military knowledge. “However, I am very practical. If a war breaks out in Taiwan, I will go to buy groceries first and my decision will be made depending on how much the government pays me to defend the country,” he joked.