MoD Scrambles To Stop British Soldiers Going AWOL To Ukraine

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The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) is scrambling to stop and discourage serving British soldiers from travelling to Ukraine to fight Russian Forces. This comes as several troops have already gone Absent Without Leave (AWOL) stating an intention to travel to Ukraine. British authorities fear Russia may see this as Britain becoming directly involved in hostilities, not to mention the propaganda that would follow should a serving British soldier be captured by Russian Forces.

In the last few days Ministry of Defence officials have been busy putting out messages on the UK military’s intranet; Defence Gateway, trying to discourage serving personnel from travelling to Ukraine. Emails are now going out, (see below), with the same message.

Part of an email sent to serving personnel warning of travelling to Ukraine. | Copyright Black Isle Media

Several Service Personnel (SP) are already believed to have travelled to Ukraine to fight. One, a 19-year-old Coldstream Guardsman left a note with his parents stating his intention to join the fight against Russian Forces, before leaving his Windsor barracks to travel to Poland and then onto Ukraine. The MoD had hoped to intercept him and another AWOL soldier, but it appears they were unsuccessful as the Guardsman has posted on social media since.

Coldstream Guardsman who had travelled to Ukraine can be seen in dress uniform.  His face is concealed for security purposes.
The 19-year-old Coldstream Guardsman who has gone AWOL to Ukraine.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman told Black Isle Media:

“All service personnel are banned from travelling to Ukraine until further notice.”


British Military Police have been deployed to Poland in the hope they can prevent any AWOL soldiers crossing into Ukraine should they catch wind that is their intention. Personnel who return from Ukraine can expect to face a Courts Martial for going Absent Without Leave and any other charges military prosecutors may wish to bring.

“This applies whether the Service Person is on leave or not. Personnel travelling to Ukraine will face disciplinary and administrative consequences.”

Fears AWOL Squaddies Draw Britain into War

A big fear for Whitehall officials, is that Russia uses British soldiers fighting in Ukraine, AWOL or not, as an excuse to draw the United Kingdom into the conflict directly. While the UK Government have been happy to arm Ukraine, they have been careful to keep it at that to prevent Britain neing drawn into a conflict with Russia. Another fear is should one be captured, they could be used for propaganda purposes by the Russian government.

It is known that many British veterans have already travelled to Ukraine following President Zelensky’s call for volunteers, but the MoD was caught off guard when Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said British citizens travelling to fight in Ukraine is okay. One Whitehall official told me:

“Nobody was prepared for serving soldiers going AWOL to Ukraine. Senior civil servants thought it would only be veterans travelling and that it would be in limited numbers. When Liz Truss practically encouraged it, there was shock across Whitehall and we’ve been on the back foot ever since.

“We still don’t have an answer on the legality of it as the AG [Attorney Genera] hasn’t answered repeated requests. We’ve been powerless to prevent people leaving.”

Whether the British Military continues to see Service Personnel going AWOL is unknown, but given the MoDs frantic activity over the past few days, it’s clear they have a fear mors may go as the conflict in Ukraine drags on.

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