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UK seeks AWOL infantrymen combating in Ukraine

LONDON, England: The British Army has confirmed that some British soldiers have disobeyed orders and gone AWOL to fight in Ukraine.

An army spokesperson said the soldiers were absent without leave and may have gone to Ukraine “in a personal capacity,” adding, “We are actively and strongly encouraging them to return to the UK.”

All service personnel are banned from traveling to Ukraine until further notice.

UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss previously said she supports UK civilians wishing to go to Ukraine to help fight, but the government later clarified that the Foreign Office advises against all travel to the country.

Taking part in the fighting in Ukraine may be against the law and could lead to prosecution, added the Ministry of Defense.

The Army’s statement follows article in the Sun newspaper claiming a 19-year-old from the Coldstream Guards left his Windsor barracks and bought a ticket to Poland last weekend.

The report has not been confirmed by the Ministry of Defense, but it said soldiers traveling to Ukraine, whether on leave or not, would face disciplinary procedures.

Serving British soldiers were warned last week against heading to Ukraine, as this risked giving “the mistaken perception” to Russia that Britain had sent in troops to fight.

Hundreds of former British soldiers who expressed their keenness to travel to Ukraine to fight or help with medical or humanitarian efforts have told the BBC they are getting mixed messages from the government.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has urged foreigners to join what he calls an “international brigade.”

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The UK has repeatedly said it would not send British troops to fight in Ukraine, but its has sent weapons to to help it defend itself against Russia’s invasion.