As Russia continues its attacks on Ukraine, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky has urged Ukrainians and foreigners to join their force.
This comes as Ukraine sets up an international legion of volunteers for foreigners who wish to join Ukraine’s fight against Russia.
Recently, Jamie, a 19-year-old with no military experience, from the United Kingdom, signed a contract for at least 2 years to fight in Ukraine.
Obsessed with the video game Call of Duty, the young teen is said to be swayed by online forums and comments by UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss.
His family is worried that Jamie does not understand the repercussion of his actions and are now trying to locate him.
Jamie’s mum described him as a “lazy teenager” and just a “normal teenage boy”.
But the teen who is obsessed with the game Call of Duty, left home on Saturday (5 Mar) night and flew to Poland. This was in preparation to go to Ukraine to fight the Russians.
Within 36 hours, Jamie had signed up to the Ukrainian Army via email, crossed the border, and signed a contract of over 2 years.
Speaking to ITV News, Jamie’s mum shared that he had emailed a London-based organisation looking to volunteer.
Throughout the process, there was no vetting involved. The teen was simply accepted and told to meet others like him upon landing in Poland.
He was still travelling with a child’s passport. Before this, he had not even left the country before. Jamie also does not speak Polish or Ukrainian.
The 19-year-old completed only 1 year of Army Cadets at school but has no military experience.
Jamie’s mum said she had no objections to people going to Ukraine to fight if they had military experience. But for someone like Jamie to be able to go over is “ridiculous”.
Now, Jamie’s family has no idea where he is and is wracked with worry.
The teen first became interested in the Ukraine-Russia conflict a few days after Russia invaded.
His mum related that he was keen to find out more, constantly asking her questions and watching videos on YouTube, ITV News reported.
Desperate for answers after Jamie left, his family then discovered the full extent of his research on the conflict.
Jamie had been watching a lot of news on YouTube, comprising reports on various topics, such as people helping refugees and going to Ukraine to fight.
His mother believes that one of the main reasons Jamie chose to go was due to the way the call for volunteers had been promoted.
I think that has been one of the main reasons, the fact that it’s been promoted, it’s showing it’s a good thing to go and help them, when it’s not for a lad like him.
In particular, Jamie’s mum mentions UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss who voiced support for UK citizens to join Ukraine’s fight.
Jamie’s family is now desperately trying to locate him.
After the teenager left, he was uncontactable for 24 hours. He later messaged his parents, confirming that he had signed up and is now in Ukraine.
He said he could not contact them often but promised to let his mother know that he was safe every day.
His family has even tried geo-tracking him and it placed the teen’s last location near Lviv, a Ukraine city bordering Poland.
They expressed to ITV News that they understand why Jamie wanted to help but he does not understand the repercussions of his actions.
His mother said Jamie may think he’s an adult, but he “definitely isn’t an adult”, and he doesn’t realise the severity of making such a decision.
Jamie’s uncle added that Jamie has a caring side and probably wants to fight to do the right thing.
But there’s also that side where he doesn’t fully understand the repercussions of shooting a weapon, and what that can do to a child’s mind.
The UK’s Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) advises against travelling to Ukraine and engaging in unlawful activity. Individuals who do so will be investigated upon their return.
The emotive images and videos coming out of Ukraine coupled with the clarion call for help have moved individuals worldwide.
However, the Ukraine-Russia conflict is much larger than just fighting on the ground. If you are hoping to offer your help, there are other avenues, such as donating to aid organisations or supporting crowdfunding efforts for refugees.
Have news you must share? Get in touch with us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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