Last week serving soldiers were warned that heading to Ukraine in response to the Russian invasion also risked giving “the mistaken perception” to Russia that Britain had sent in troops to fight.
Hundreds of former British soldiers have said they want to go to Ukraine to fight or help with medical or humanitarian efforts. Many have told the BBC they are getting mixed messages from the government about whether they should go.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky has urged foreigners to join what he calls an “international brigade”. It is unclear how many people have responded to his calls, but hundreds of Britons expressed their wish to volunteer.
Although the UK has sent weapons to Ukraine to help it defend itself against Russia, it has repeatedly said it would not be sending British troops to fight in Ukraine.
The West has been clear that it would not engage in direct military confrontation with Russia and countries in the Nato military alliance – including the UK – have repeatedly rejected President Zelensky’s calls to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine.