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British Servicemen Warned Fighting in Ukraine is ‘Court Martial Offence’ as Four Soldiers ‘Go AWOL’

© AFP 2023 / ALAIN JOCARDBritish soldiers take part in a major drill as part of NATO's "enhanced forward presence" (EFP) deployment in Poland and the Baltic nations of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, at the Tapa estonian army camp near Rakvere on February 5, 2022
British soldiers take part in a major drill as part of NATO's enhanced forward presence (EFP) deployment in Poland and the Baltic nations of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, at the Tapa estonian army camp near Rakvere on February 5, 2022 - Sputnik International, 1920, 09.03.2022
The statement by the UK Ministry of Defence followed reports that a 19-year-old Coldstream Guardsman was among at least four missing British soldiers, feared to have travelled to Ukraine to join the fighting.
The Ministry of Defence has warned British service personnel that they are banned from travelling to Ukraine and those in violation would be disciplined.
“All Service Personnel are prohibited from travelling to Ukraine until further notice. This applies whether the Service Person is on leave or not. Personnel travelling to Ukraine will face disciplinary and administrative consequences,” reads a MoD statement.
The warning came after a report in The Sun, which said that a 19-year old Coldstream Guardsman, based in Windsor barracks, penned a goodbye letter to his parents and bought a ticket to Poland over the weekend with the intention of crossing into Ukraine.
He is believed to be one of four British soldiers believed to have gone AWOL, possibly travelling to Ukraine, where Russia is conducting a special military operation to "demilitarise and de-Nazify" the country.

‘Court Martial Offence’

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps also stressed that any British soldiers who attempted to violate the ban would be committing a “court martial offence,” as their actions risked a “dangerous situation."
“There is a big difference between Britain sending its army in and some people who are breaking with our law and going to do it… Clearly, we want to make sure that the assistance we are providing is done in an official way like the anti-tank missiles that we provided prior and during this conflict and like the 22,000 Ukrainians that we have trained,” Shapps told ITV’s Good Morning Britain on Wednesday.
Currently, all travel to Ukraine is banned under official UK military advice.
Two Polish Air Force Russian made Mig 29's fly above and below two Polish Air Force U.S. made F-16's fighter jets during the Air Show in Radom, Poland, Saturday, Aug. 27, 2011 - Sputnik International, 1920, 08.03.2022
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Defence Secretary Ben Wallace previously urged Britons not to travel to Ukraine to join the fighting, saying that he does not "want to see British people killed any more than I want to see Ukrainians" amid the "very dangerous" situation there.
Wallace made the remarks after UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss earlier said she would "absolutely" support British nationals who chose to go to help fight against the Russian invasion.
Asked in a BBC interview in late February about Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s call on foreigners to join his country’s fight against Russia, Truss said those resisting Moscow’s actions were “fighting for freedom and democracy not just for Ukraine but for the whole of Europe.”
Asked specifically if she would support Britons going to Ukraine to fight, she quipped: “Absolutely, if that is what they want to do.”
10 Downing Street was quick to contradict the statement by Britain’s top diplomat, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson's official spokesman saying:
"We think the best way we can help Ukraine right now is by ensuring Putin fails… There are a number of ways Brits can show their support for that, and the Ukrainian embassy in London is putting out information about how British people can support. There's advice up on travelling to Ukraine, we currently advise against travel to Ukraine."
Earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the military to put the nation's nuclear deterrence forces on high alert following remarks by the UK Foreign Secretary who warned that if Russia's military operation in Ukraine was not "stopped," it could lead to a conflict with NATO.
Britain's new Foreign Secretary Liz Truss leaves 10 Downing Street, in London, Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 27.02.2022
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Russia began a military operation President Putin said was aimed at “demilitarising and de-Nazifying” Ukraine on 24 February. The operation commenced after Moscow’s newly-recognized Donbass republic allies formally asked Russia for assistance amid non-stop Ukrainian shelling, sniper and sabotage attacks.
The DPR and LPR were established in the spring of 2014 in response to the Western-backed coup in Kiev. The coup witnessed the overthrow of the country’s legitimate government and its replacement by ultranationalist and pro-western forces that subjected the predominantly Russian-speaking people of Donbass to “abuse, genocide… for eight years."
The Russian government has stated that the goal of the current operation was to neutralise Ukraine's military capacity.
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In response, the US and its NATO allies, who had committed nearly $3 billion in arms aid to Ukraine before the escalation of the crisis, have promised to funnel even more assistance to the Kiev regime.
The UK announced plans to supply Kiev with “light anti-armour defensive weapons systems” in January, and recently promised to boost its “non-lethal aid.” The US and its NATO allies have also unleashed a massive sanctions campaign against Russia.
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