Marines banned from traveling to Ukraine as Americans try to join fight

The United States Marine Corps has issued an order through its Navy Administrative Mail Service stating that its personnel are prohibited from traveling to Ukraine and the neighboring countries of Belarus and the Moldova. This appears to be the first such order by a US military branch amid Russia’s ongoing war against Ukraine.

Captain Ryan Bruce, spokesman for the Marine Corps, confirmed Newsweek that the new order applies to all Marines, including its reserves. A later statement provided by Marine Corps spokesman Maj. Jim Stenger said the purpose of the order was to communicate the State Department’s March 8 message directly to Marines.

“The purpose of this message was to put into a MARADMIN (a maritime administrative message) similar language that already existed elsewhere in the form of a State Department travel advisory and a message written by the commander of the ‘EUCOM,” Stenger said. Newsweek.

“I know I check MARADMINs more frequently than State Department travel advisories,” he added, “so this was an attempt to communicate an important message directly to our Marines and Sailors .”

Ukraine says more than 7,000 Americans have signed up to support its military effort. In this photo, soldiers from the Donbass Volunteer Battalion take part in clearing operations in a village in the Lysychansk district of the Luhansk region, controlled by pro-Russian separatists on January 28, 2015.
Photo by -/AFP via Getty Images

While the State Department issued a similar ‘do not travel’ advisory on March 8, the call is a direct order to Marines at a time when Kyiv officials have claimed tens of thousands of foreign fighters are surrendering. in Ukraine to help in the fight. against Russia.

The Ukrainian Embassy in Washington, DC, said Newsweek Wednesday that more than 7,000 American citizens have registered to join the Ukrainian International Legion, noting that “not all are approved and not all go to Ukraine.”

President Joe Biden has said any direct clash between US and Russian forces could lead to World War III, especially given growing tensions between the White House and the Kremlin.

It is not known if any Marines joined the fight in Ukraine. However, a Pentagon spokesperson said Newsweek Wednesday that, while “there is no simple answer” as to the potential repercussions for U.S. military reservists, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was “investigating the implications and consequences that would be associated with members of the reserve fighting in a foreign country on behalf of another government.”

“As each member is a U.S. citizen,” the Pentagon spokesperson added, “there are other considerations individuals must take into account in a decision to fight in Ukraine to include potential impacts on their citizenship, criminal or legal implications, etc.”

Even American civilians were at serious risk.

A State Department spokesperson said Newsweek Wednesday that any U.S. nationals captured by Russian forces could be treated as “mercenaries” rather than legitimate combatants. This means they could face potential criminal charges and could be at “increased risk of ill-treatment”.

Ask by Newsweek the next day, what would be Moscow’s course of action if American active duty or reservists were detained, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said, “We do not accept any form of recruitment of mercenaries” from other countries in the Ukrainian armed forces or “the ranks of nationalist battalions”.

“We believe that this work has continued actively through Ukraine’s national missions abroad, as well as through intelligence networks, first through the United States and other NATO countries, or NATO structures,” Zakharova said. “We do not accept this, but we have also warned countries and governments that no questions were put to us about the fate of these people.”


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