French Foreign Legion

Former French Foreign Legion soldiers on the front line in Ukraine


The Russian invasion has caused a stir inside the French Foreign Legion which has around 700 Ukrainians in its ranks. There have been media rumours of desertions by soldiers who want to go and fight in Ukraine, and the commanding officer has gone public with an appeal for troops to honour their oath to the Legion. Mediapart has meanwhile identified several former legionnaires who are already on the front line and has spoken to one there who claims there are 'a hundred' current and former legionnaire already in Ukraine. Sébastien Bourdon reports.

The château in Provence where winemaking Foreign Legion vets retire

France— Link

The Domaine Capitaine Danjou, an estate of vinyards and olive groves close to Aix-en-Provence, is home to 80 veterans of the French army's elite Foreign Legion in need of convalescence, rehabilitation or simply a roof over their heads, where they regularly produce around 200,000 bottles of wine per year.

Former soldier breaks 'code of silence' over sexual violence in French Foreign Legion

France— Investigation

Alex Held, who joined France's iconic fighting force in 2015, made a formal complaint in December 2019 following the unwanted physical advances of a superior. The former legionnaire, an American, is still seeing a psychiatrist and is taking anti-depressants as a result of his ordeal. The Legion insists that it has “heavily punished” the warrant officer concerned plus two others accused of having failed to raise the alarm. But the punishment administered is at the lower end of those available in a fighting force which sees itself as the “height of virility”. Sophie Boutboul reports.

Death of French soldier in Mali operations raises toll to 43

International— Link

French officials have announced that Foreign Legion member Kévin Clement, 21, was killed in a firefight combat against armed groups in Mali’s Menaka region, bringing the total of fatalities among French forces engaged against jihadist forces in the north-west African country since 2013 to 43.

French Foreign Legion soldier fighting in Mali dies from IED injuries

International— Link

Brigadier Dymyto Martynyouk was struck by an improvised explosive device during an 'operation against terrorist groups' on April 23, officials said.