LONDON (AA) – The British army has confirmed that a number of its active soldiers have gone to Ukraine to fight against Russian forces.
An unnamed spokesperson was quoted by Sky News as saying that they were “aware of a small number of individual soldiers who have disobeyed orders and gone absent without leave and may have travelled to Ukraine in a personal capacity.”
“We are actively and strongly encouraging them to return to the UK,” the spokesperson said.
Defense Secretary Ben Wallace earlier confirmed “reports in a weekend newspaper about three members who had gone AWOL over the weekend.”
“They will be breaking the law and they will be prosecuted when they return for going absent without leave or deserting,” he said.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said Thursday that the servicemen’s actions risked a “dangerous situation” with the Russian regime as the Kremlin could exploit the situation if they were captured.
A Ministry of Defense spokesman said: “All service personnel are prohibited from travelling to Ukraine until further notice.
Meanwhile groups of former British servicemen have also travelled to Ukraine despite the government’s travel advice to the country.
Britain’s army chief Admiral Sir Tony Radakin said last weekend that “it’s unlawful as well as unhelpful for the UK military and for the UK population to start going towards Ukraine.”