British Royal Navy sailors
© Reuters / Toru Hanai
British Royal Navy sailors stand in front of HMS Albion
An investigation is underway after a group of Royal Marines allegedly filmed themselves drawing a swastika on one of their fellow servicemen, causing military top brass to fear that the embarrassing footage could be leaked online.

The Nazi "initiation" ceremony was filmed aboard a Royal Navy vessel during multi-national training exercises intended to "strike fear" into Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Mail on Sunday reported.

The troops involved were part of the Future Commando Force (FCF) and have reportedly since been warned that they might be prevented from taking part in similar future missions thanks to the humiliating incident

In a note to troops, a senior officer warned that anyone in possession of the video from the 'Exercise Baltic Protector' mission "is to delete it immediately" and said anyone found forwarding it or posting it on public forums will face disciplinary action.

"If it reaches social media we can kiss goodbye to any additional responsibilities as well as runs ashore [slang for social privileges]," the note said, according to the Mail.

The newspaper reported that the video also features a series of other "disgusting acts" taking place in the corridors and sleeping quarters of what is believed to be the HMS Albion.


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Royal Marines Swastika Russia

Military police have launched an investigation after footage of sickening behaviour on board a Royal Navy vessel emerged. Pictured, a still from the video shows the Nazi swastika

One commando told the paper that the exercises were supposed to send Putin "a message" that the UK and its allies have the "amphibious capability to defend Baltic and Scandinavian states" - and as such, this "wasn't a time to get drunk, daub swastikas on each other and do other unthinkable acts."

It also appears that senior officials are more concerned with where the incident took place rather than the acts themselves. Military chiefs, the commando said, "might expect" something like this to happen occasionally back home, "but never on a ship sailing near Russian waters."

A Ministry of Defence spokesperson called the behavior "unacceptable" and said it was aware that the video was circulating.

The Royal Marines were leading a 12,000-strong force of troops from nine countries, with exercises involving staging mock battles and the recapture of chemical weapons stores off the coasts of Sweden and Denmark.