A number of british soldiers have “disobeyed orders and absented themselves without leave” and it is believed that they may have surrendered to Ukraine in the midst of a permanent conflict with Russiana, the British Army said.
The military said missing soldiers may have traveled to Ukraine “personally”.
It comes after Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said the soldiers could be prosecuted for desertion if they traveled to Ukraine to fight Russian forces.
British military personnel banned from traveling to Ukraine
Ministry of Defense (MoD) chiefs have banned all military personnel from traveling to Ukraine “until further notice”, as a military spokesperson said: “We strongly encourage them to return to the UK”.
Explaining the ban, a MoD spokesman said: ‘This applies whether the service person is on leave or not. Staff traveling to Ukraine will face disciplinary and administrative consequences.
UK position on British joining the Ukrainian resistance
The UK’s stance on Brits joining the resistance to Vladimir Putin’s invasion has forced ministers to backtrack on comments from Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, who said she would ‘absolutely’ support the volunteers who would go to Ukraine to fight.
Ministers’ concerns about the British being caught up in the fighting were underlined by Cabinet Minister Grant Shapps, who said it risked creating a “dangerous situation” with the Russians.
Mr Shapps told troops ‘you can’t just get up and leave’ after a 19-year-old Coldstream Guard was reportedly among four missing British soldiers who feared they had traveled to fight Russia.
The Transport Secretary stressed there was a “big difference” between the individuals making the potentially illegal decision and the UK sending troops to fight alongside the Ukrainians.
Ministers ruled out such a move for fear it would trigger a world war, instead pledging to provide defensive weapons to repel Moscow’s troops.