British military veteran reportedly killed while fighting in Ukraine

·4-min read
(PA) (PA Archive)
(PA) (PA Archive)

A British military veteran has reportedly been killed in Ukraine while fighting against Russian forces.

Tributes have been paid to Scott Sibley after the Foreign Office confirmed a British national had died in Ukraine and another is missing.

The families of both are being supported, a spokesperson said, declining to give names or further details.

Mr Sibley has been named by the BBC and Sky, both of which said he is believed to have been fighting in support of Ukrainian forces.

A Briton has been killed and another is missing as the conflict continues in Ukraine, officials have confirmed (Francisco Seco/AP) (AP)
A Briton has been killed and another is missing as the conflict continues in Ukraine, officials have confirmed (Francisco Seco/AP) (AP)

In a statement, the Foreign Office said: “We can confirm that a British national has been killed in Ukraine and are supporting their family.”

On the missing person, the spokesperson said: “We are aware of a British national who is missing in Ukraine and are supporting their family. We are urgently seeking further information.”

A fundraising page set up in Mr Sibley’s name paid tribute to his “contagious laugh and ability to cheer us up!”.

Tributes were also left on the Logistic Support Squadron Facebook page, where a picture was posted alongside the comment: “This week the Sqn has lost a former serving soldier. A man that showed Commando spirit until the end. RIP. Scott Sibley.”

A small number of serving British personnel are believed to have gone absent without leave to join the resistance against the Russian invasion, while veterans and Britons without combat experience are thought to have also travelled to Ukraine.

There was initially confusion on the Government’s position after Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, in comments during an interview to the BBC on February 26, said she would “absolutely” support UK nationals who chose to fight for Ukraine.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss initially said she would support UK nationals who chose to fight for Ukraine but later rowed back on this (Victoria Jones/PA) (PA Wire)
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss initially said she would support UK nationals who chose to fight for Ukraine but later rowed back on this (Victoria Jones/PA) (PA Wire)

However, she later rowed back on those comments, insisting she had been “expressing support for the Ukrainian cause” in her remarks, and that there are “better ways” to contribute to the country’s defence.

Veterans minister Leo Docherty has previously written to armed forces charities to encourage those tempted to travel to the war zone to turn their efforts to helping the Ukrainian people from the UK.

Britons Shaun Pinner and Aiden Aslin were both captured earlier this month while fighting with Ukrainian armed forces against Russia.

Meanwhile, the latest Government figures show that around a fifth of Ukrainian refugees who have been issued with visas under the Homes for Ukraine scheme have arrived in the UK.

A total of 86,100 visas had been issued as of Wednesday under the Ukraine Family scheme and the Homes for Ukraine Sponsorship scheme, the Government said.

But, as of Monday, just 27,100 Ukrainians had arrived in the UK, according to figures from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and the Home Office.

Overall, less than a third (31.4%) of those granted visas under both schemes have arrived in the UK.

There are multiple cases where families are unable to travel to the UK because not all family members have received their permission to travel letters or visas.

There has also been widespread concern about the length of time it has taken for visas to be issued to refugees under the Homes for Ukraine scheme.

A Government spokeswoman said: “We are processing thousands of visas a day – this shows the changes we made to streamline the service are working and we’ll continue to build on this success so we can speed up the process even further.”

We’ve constantly said that Russia should leave Ukraine sovereign territory so that hasn’t changed

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has said Britain and its allies need to help prise Russian forces out of Ukraine like “a limpet off the rock”.

Mr Wallace said the UK would continue to supply weapons to the government in Kyiv and was looking at the options for providing anti-ship missiles.

Mr Wallace told Sky News: “I think it’s certainly the case that Putin, having failed in nearly all objectives, may seek to consolidate what he’s got, sort of fortify and dig in, as he did in 2014, and just be a sort of cancerous growth within the country of Ukraine and make it very hard for people to move them out of those fortified positions,” he said.

“So I think it’s really about, if we want this to not happen, we have to help Ukrainians effectively get the limpet off the rock and keep the momentum pushing them back.”

In a speech on Wednesday, Ms Truss said the objective should be to drive Russia out of “the whole of Ukraine”.

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