START Webinar Series: Foreign Fighters in Ukraine



A recording of this event can be found at this link

On Thursday, April 30 at 10 a.m. ET, START Senior Researcher Egle Murauskaite provided a virtual lecture on “Foreign Fighters in Ukraine.” If you have any questions, please email the START events team at

This presentation is adapted from the report "Foreign Fighters in Ukraine: Assessing Potential Risks," which is the first academic publication to focus exclusively on the subject of foreigners taking part in the conflict in Ukraine. What types of people does this conflict attract, and what happens to them upon returning home? Many in the West have come to mistakenly view these fighters as a potential risk of radicalization and violent extremism - erroneously comparing them to radicalized fighters returning from Iraq, Syria, and other hotspots in the Middle East. Instead, the risks associated with foreign fighters returning from Ukraine lie elsewhere: stigmatization upon return, their latent potential for foreign-directed disruptive action, and irresponsible media coverage that turns them into heroes for self-radicalizing elements of society.

Egle E. Murauskaite is a senior researcher and simulations designer for the ICONS Project with the University of Maryland. Presently based in Lithuania, she is responsible for high-level political-military crises simulations in Europe, alongside academic research and government consulting projects. Ms. Murauskaite has been working with unconventional security threats for the past 8 years – from terrorism and proliferation of nuclear weapons, to countering illicit trafficking and increasing cyber resilience. Ms. Murauskaite has also developed courses, workshops, and other training curricula (online and in person) for professionals and academics. Her analyses have been published in the FPRI Baltic Bulletin, IQ the Economist, Peace and Conflict Studies Journal, Nonproliferation Review, and Lithuanian Annual Strategic Review. Her professional experience spans the Netherlands, Australia, Egypt, France, and the U.S.