Foreign and Caricom Affairs Minister Dr Amery Browne.

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Minister of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs, Dr Amery Browne, has sought further information on T&T national Brian Stone seeking to depart this country to help defend Ukraine against the Russian invasion. However, the minister is advising others against following suit.

Stone, a United National Congress activist and business development consultant, is one of the country’s first volunteer combatants planning to depart for Europe in two weeks to help defend Ukraine.

A dual citizen, Stone previously served in the Canadian armed forces reserves.

During a media conference yesterday, Browne said he is not encouraged by information coming to him on the matter.

He also noted there were several previous instances of T&T nationals departing to be mercenaries in foreign conflicts which turned into an “international conundrum” for them.

“What I saw was very disturbing for me, cast against the backdrop that we have nationals of this country in the past who went overseas as mercenaries to fight wars in other jurisdictions and that is currently an international conundrum and nightmare for some of these individuals and the host countries,” he said.

“I don’t want to say too much more on this topic. I certainly will not be saying anything to encourage that type of…potential grandstanding but all I can do is sound a note of caution for the good sense, the welfare and the physical well-being of all our nationals and encourage persons not to take bad example from those who might wish to be reckless, who might wish to be on some sort of populist agenda which could put themselves and even our national reputation in jeopardy.”

He also cautioned people against lauding the actions of Stone.

“Nothing that I have heard is encouraging or would suggest this is something that our citizens should applaud or encourage or motivate in any way shape or form,” he said.

Sixteen days ago on February 27, the International Legion of Territorial Defense of Ukraine, (Foreign Legion) was formed. It allows non-nationals to join their defence.

Since then, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister indicated that at least 20,000 volunteers from 52 countries have volunteered to fight for the country with thousands more expected.