Ukraine-Russia conflict: Edinburgh grandfather travels to Ukraine to fight Russian invasion

Builder Rab Grady posted an online video in which he’s seen wearing a flak jacket and camouflage fatigue – and holding an assault rifle.

In the clip, he says: “My name is Rob. I’m a 61-year-old grandfather from Scotland.

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Rab Grady (centre) is fighting alongside the Ukrainians. Photo: Rab Grady

“Anybody in the world, please Ukraine. They need everybody to help. Volunteers, please.”

Hundreds of British volunteers are expected to take up arms to defend Ukraine, with some having already arrived in the country.

In a message posted alongside the video, the father-of-one wrote: “This was my own free choice. I am a grown man. I’ve went to Ukraine to help the Ukrainian people in a criminal war.”

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Speaking to the BBC, Mr Grady said he has been accepted to join an “international legion” in Kyiv.

He has previous military experience with the Territorial Army.

Members of Mr Grady’s family have posted messages expressing support for his decision.

One wrote: “Hero. Please come home safe Rob Grady”.

On Sunday, the Chief of the Defense Staff urged Britons not to head to Ukraine to fight against Russia, delivering a clear rebuke to Foreign Secretary Liz Truss after she expressed support for those joining the fight.

Admiral Sir Tony Radakin told the BBC’s Sunday Morning programme: “We’ve been very clear that it’s unlawful as well as unhelpful for the UK military and for the UK population to start going towards Ukraine in that sense.

“Support from the UK, support in whatever way you can. But this isn’t really something that you want to rush to in terms of the sound of gunfire. This is about sensitive support based in the UK.”

Last week, Ms Truss said she would “absolutely” support anyone who wanted to fight, with a number of Britons keen to help Ukraine defend itself against Vladimir Putin’s invasion.

Asked if the Foreign Secretary should not have made the suggestion, Sir Tony said: “I think she was reflecting (that) she could and that we can all understand that sentiment, and that sentiment needs to be channeled into support for Ukraine.

“But we’re saying as professional military people that actually that is not necessarily the sensible thing to be doing.”

Ms Truss’s comments run contrary to the Foreign Office advice against all travel to Ukraine, and she has also been contradicted by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and several other Cabinet colleagues who have warned Britons away.

The Foreign Office website said: “If you travel to Ukraine to fight, or to assist others engaged in the conflict, your activities may amount to offenses against UK terrorism or other legislation and you could be prosecuted on your return to the UK.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky last week announced the formation of an “international legion” to help defend his country and appealed to foreign volunteers to come forward, promising them arms to fight against Russian troops.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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