Ukraine accuses Russia of wanting to ‘conscript’ Ukrainians into Russian forces: UK

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As the Russian military offensive in Ukraine entered its 60th day, the UK Ministry of Defense released its latest intelligence update on the situation on the ground. The British Ministry of Defense said Ukraine’s Main Intelligence Directorate and General Staff had accused Russia of planning to integrate Ukrainian civilians from the Russian regions of Ukraine, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, into its army. The British ministry has declared that the inclusion of Ukrainian civilians in the Russian armed forces violates Article 51 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

“The Ukrainian Main Intelligence Directorate and the General Staff have accused Russia of planning the conscription of Ukrainian civilians from the Russian-occupied Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions. This would follow similar previous conscription practices in Donbass and the Russian-occupied Crimea,” the UK Ministry of Defense said in the latest intelligence update.

The UK Ministry of Defense said in a tweet that, in accordance with Article 51 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, “protected persons” will not be compelled by the “occupying power” to participate in the military. According to the ministry, Article 51 of the Fourth Geneva Convention will be violated even if Russia presents that people have voluntarily joined its armed forces in accordance with Russian law. The UK Ministry of Defense noted that “protected persons” includes people who are in occupied areas of the war-torn nation. He further added that “no pressure or propaganda aimed at ensuring voluntary enlistment is allowed”.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks with Ukrainian President Zelenskyy

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had a telephone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on April 23. During the phone conversation, Johnson briefed Zelenskyy on the steps the UK is taking to support Ukraine against Russian aggression. He informed Zelenskyy about the provision of additional military assistance to Ukraine. He also told him about the sanctions imposed on members of the Russian armed forces. During the telephone conversation, they discussed the situation in Mariupol. Zelenskyy thanked British Prime Minister Boris Johnson for the defense and financial assistance. Both sides even talked about security guarantees for Ukraine. It should be mentioned here that the British government has condemned Russian military action in Ukraine since the start of the war in Ukraine. Additionally, Britain continues to provide economic and defense assistance to Ukraine and has announced new sanctions against Russia as well as Belarus. Earlier on April 10, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson traveled to Ukraine to meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and reiterated Britain’s support for the war-torn nation.

Image: AP

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