British former soldiers and volunteers heading into war torn Ukraine have backed a Coldstream Guardsman who has gone AWOL to join the fight.
The unidentified 19-year-old solider vanished last week from his unit after telling family and friends he was fed up with ‘standing around’ and is now thought to be at the front line.
As a serving soldier he faces court martial after PM Boris Johnson announced British armed forces personnel who travel to fight the Russians will be punished on their return.
But at the Medyka border crossing with Ukraine, the teenager – and at least three others who have gone AWOL to join up – were backed by former soldiers including two from London.
A 19-year-old member of the Queen’s Guard (left and right), whose identity has not been revealed for security reasons, dropped his ceremonial duties as a Coldstream Guardsman and signed up for Ukraine’s International Legion of foreign volunteer fighters
Four active members of the British Army are believed to have abandoned their posts and shipped off the Ukraine to fight the Russian invaders, including one teenager who is a serving member of the Queen’s Guard (stock image)
Pictured, members of Ukraine’s international legion. Volunteers from the US, UK, Sweden, Lithuania and Mexico have joined (Pictured)
Claudius Scott, 28, who served six years with 5th Battalion The Rifles, at Bulford, Wiltshire, said: ’I can see why those guys wanted to go. They wanted to do what they thought was right and fight the enemy.
‘That’s what they are trained to do, that’s what I was trained to do and although I didn’t go on any battle tours I did plenty of military exercises in Estonia, Canada and Latvia.
‘I’ve got the experience and the skill that the Ukrainians could use, I don’t have any family commitments so I’m happy to go – I’ve got my helmet and body armour with me and I know what I’m doing.
‘The British Army is one of the best trained military forces in the world so I want to put all that training to use and help because what is going on in Ukraine is wrong.
‘I’m Ok I served, did my time, I’m out and so I can go but I can see why those guys who went AWOL wanted to go and do their bit by helping out. I stand with them and fully support them.’
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy slammed Moscow for ‘torturing’ civilians who have spent more than a week without vital supplies in besieged cities. Pictured: Russian tanks in Donetsk
Shelling continues across the country with a school reduced to rubble in Kharkiv (pictured). Ukraine’s emergency services reported Saturday that the bodies of five people – two women, a man and two children – were pulled from an apartment building that was struck by shelling in the city
A Ukrainian serviceman exits a damaged building after shelling in Kyiv as Russian forces close in on the city
His friend, who asked not to be named, and had a fierce combat knife on his belt, said:’ We are seeing war crimes being committed in Ukraine and as a solider you can’t just stand by and see that happening.
‘That’s why those guys who went AWOL went, they were probably a bit fed up hanging around not doing and proper soldiering and so wanted to get stuck in.
‘I did my time with Claudius in 5 Rifles, I’m trained and I know what I’m doing, I’ve done exercises and I know how to use a weapon and I have tactical knowledge.
‘I’m sure those guys who went AWOL felt like us, they wanted to put up some resistance against what is going on in Ukraine and take the Russians on. I’m happy to give it a go.’
He added:’I’ve got a 13-year-old son at home, yes I had him when I was young at 15, so I’d like to get back and see him, apart from that I have no commitments.
‘Of course the lad and my family are worried but I’ve told them not to because I intend to come back.’
An explosion is seen in an apartment building after Russian’s army tank fires in Mariupol, Ukraine today
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Several other Britons who claimed to be former soldiers also crossed over but refused to speak or be photographed with one saying he was going because he had ‘emailed the Ukrainian Embassy in London about fighting’ and had not heard back so’ was going anyway’.
Meanwhile the AWOL Brit squaddies have been warned not to try and join the Georgian National League of foreign fighters.
Speaking exclusively to MailOnline, Commander Mamuka Mamulashvili, of the Georgian National League, which accepts foreign fighters, and is expecting around 150 British volunteers, said:’If those four guys come anywhere near my Legion they will be sent home. I will personally buy them their plane tickets.
‘We check everyone who comes and signs on with us and they are all either volunteers who will be trained or retired members of the military – we do not take deserters or people who have gone absent without leave.
‘If one of those four guys joined me it would create a political storm and I don’t want that. I do everything by the rules, anyone who joins me is not paid we are not mercenaries.’
Commander Mamulashvili revealed how he had already sent one serving British army solider back to the UK.
He said:’A couple of days before the Russians invaded a British guy turned up saying he wanted to fight, he was interviewed and it quickly came out that he was still serving and he had left his unit without permission to come out here.
‘He had arrived in Kyiv saying he wanted to join the Georgian National League but as soon as we found out he had deserted his unit I sent him back to Britain. We don’t want any trouble.’
Dozens of volunteers and ex-servicemen from Britain are thought to have headed to Ukraine and earlier this week MailOnline spoke exclusively to two – James and Thomas – who had flown out to join the Georgian National Legion.
Thomas, 26, from London, had served in the army for four years while James, 22, from Manchester, had no previous experience but said he was receiving ‘excellent training’ from UK and US instructors.
Last month just days after the invasion Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said she would ‘absolutely support’ those who wished to travel from the UK and fight against the Russian army in Ukraine but the government quickly distanced itself with Downing Street saying it strongly advised against travelling.
Serving members of the British Armed Forces have been banned from accepting an invitation from the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky to join an International Brigade set up specially for foreigners.
Around 20,000 volunteers from around the world are thought to have signed up to fight in Ukraine but commander Mamulashvili added:’I only want those who are eligible to join coming to support us. Anyone who fails the selection criteria because he is already serving will be sent home, you have been warned.
‘We are taking the battle to Putin, we will win and we will do it with but I will not have extremists, racists or blood thirsty guys who just want to kill in my battalion. We have seen what the Russians are doing, bombing civilians and hospitals but we will win, Putin will be defeated.’
Read more at DailyMail.co.uk