The British government has warned members of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces believed to have gone to Ukraine to fight will “be in an awful lot of trouble” and urged them to return.
While Liz Truss MP, the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary, recently gave her backing to Britons travelling to Ukraine to fight Russian in an “international legion” established by the Ukrainian government in a television interview, her clarion call was later countermanded, with officials warning that heading to a foreign conflict zones to take up arms was, in fact, likely unlawful.
British military personnel, more specifically, have been explicitly banned from travelling to Ukraine — but the army has now confirmed that some servicemen currently absent without leave are believed to have made the journey “in a personal capacity”, what would have once probably been called defection.”We are actively and strongly encouraging them to return to the UK,” a British Army spokesman told the BBC.
James Heappey MP, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Armed Forces at the Ministry of Defence, has also issued a general warning to soldiers during a Sky News interview that they “will be in an awful lot of trouble” if they travel to Ukraine.
On Second Thoughts, Maybe Not: UK U-Turns on Allowing Britons to Volunteer in Ukrainehttps://t.co/jVtp1nWCiC
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“This is not the time for people to be going there, and the Ukrainians have made clear, once you cross the border with the expectation to fight, you’re in it for good,” he said, emphasising the fact that volunteers may find themselves unable to back out of the conflict if they find themselves having second thoughts after joining it.
“[P]eople who think they can go and do a couple of weeks, take some selfies, get some Instagram shots, and then come home — that is not the way the Ukrainians are viewing the people that go to fight,” Heappey said, adding in no uncertain terms that “British people should not be doing it.”
Hundreds of Britons have expressed a desire to volunteer, however, and some — including men with no previous military experience — have already attempted to volunteer. Some of those with more enthusiasm than experience have already been turned down by Ukraine, it is reported, given they pose more of a threat to themselves and their comrades than the Russians should they find themselves in-theatre.
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— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) March 9, 2022