Britain’s Chief of the Defence Staff has advised UK citizens to not listen to foreign secretary Liz Truss, who appeared to encourage Brits to go fight in Ukraine against Russia.
Admiral Sir Tony Radakin said it is “unlawful” and “unhelpful” of either UK troops or ordinary British people to get involved in the conflict.
He told the BBC: “We’ve been very clear that it’s unlawful as well as unhelpful for UK military and for the UK population to start going towards Ukraine in that sense.
“Support from the UK, support in whatever way you can. But this isn’t really something that you want to rush to in terms of the sound of gunfire. This is about sensible support based in the UK.”
‘I would absolutely support that’, Truss said
Radakin’s position was laid out after Truss said last week she would “absolutely” support anyone who wanted to fight in Ukraine against Russian president Vladimir Putin’s invasion.
She told the BBC: “That is something people can make their own decisions about.
“The people of Ukraine are fighting for freedom and democracy, not just for Ukraine but for the whole of Europe.
“Absolutely, if people want to support that struggle, I would support them in doing that.”
Pushed to say whether Truss should not have encouraged people to do so, Radakin said: “I think she was reflecting (that) she could and that we can all understand that sentiment, and that sentiment needs to be channelled into support for Ukraine.
“But we’re saying as professional military people that actually that is not necessarily the sensible thing to be doing.”
According to The Independent, it is not only Radakin who contradicted Truss, but also the department she leads – the Foreign Office.
Foreign Office itself contradicts Truss
The Foreign Office website reads at the time of writing: “The FCDO advise against all travel to Ukraine.
“There is a real risk to life. We advise British nationals to leave Ukraine immediately if you judge it is safe to do so.”
Truss’s differing advice appeared to come after Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky announced foreign citizens will be able to fight for Ukraine against Russian troops as part of a new “foreign legion”.
“Every friend of Ukraine who wants to join Ukraine in defending the country please come over, we will give you weapons,” Zelensky said last month.
‘We need more voices for peace’, Corbyn says
But Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said “what we need is more voices for peace” and “more anti-war activists around the world to expose the dangers and the folly of war”.
Corbyn hit out at the West and said they should “go back to the original agreements” on Ukraine made in Budapest and Minsk, which he said were “designed to bring along a long-term ceasefire”.