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Home » Ukraine War: British Fighter Lashed With Shrapnel in 30-hour Battle With 200 Russians as Missiles Rained Down

Ukraine War: British Fighter Lashed With Shrapnel in 30-hour Battle With 200 Russians as Missiles Rained Down

by Yarzar Ye
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A British fighter injured in Ukraine has told how he was lashed with shrapnel as his heavily outnumbered unit held off 200 Russians while being attacked by tanks and artillery during a 30-hour battle.

The soldier, who was part of a 13-man team, said he carried on fighting even after shrapnel ripped into his elbow and then tore through his eye, back and knee.

He described the battle 10 days ago near the city of Donetsk as “like being in a World War Two movie” and more brutal than any combat he has experienced since volunteering to fight in Ukraine days after Russia’s invasion in February last year.

After initial skirmishes with Russians who were visible from a treeline about 100m away, the former British Army soldier said “all hell broke loose” when they were spotted by a Russian drone before incoming enemy fire bombarded their position.

“They were plotting the coordinates of where to drop the artillery. There were two tanks, BMP [infantry fighting vehicles],” the soldier, who asked to remain anonymous, told i.

“They were firing incendiary artillery at us, Grads [missiles], normal artillery, RPG [rocket propelled grenade] warheads. Everything you can think of they were firing at us.

“It didn’t stop for a long time. We survived 30 hours. We were on the trenchline fighting non-stop for hours and hours.

“Artillery landed behind me and a piece of shrapnel went into my elbow. I looked down and my elbow was bleeding everywhere and it was f****d. But I carried on fighting at that point.

“I’ve been in Ukraine now for 14 months and I’ve fought in a lot of places but that was something else. I’ve never been as heavily bombarded as that in my entire life. It really is terrifying. With artillery it’s purely just luck you survive.”

The soldiers, working as a quick reaction force to support Ukrainian forces, had taken up positions in occupied Russian territory behind natural mud fortifications.

One Ukrainian soldier he had been speaking to an hour earlier, whose wife and 11-year-old daughter had been evacuated to England, was killed by a tank in front of him as he prepared to fire an RPG.

The team he was fighting with held their position for more than 30 hours (Photo: supplied)

His team, who were defending their position armed with Soviet-era AK rifles and a machine gun, were able to destroy one Russian tank with a Javelin missile, but some of them were caught up in the explosion.

“The tank blew up and then that’s when me and all my buddies got injured from the tank blast. Shrapnel went into my eye, my knee, my foot and my back,” he said.

“So we had to go down into the dugout while we were still fighting to patch ourselves up because everyone else was busy fighting as we were so heavily outnumbered.”

Despite the battle raging some soldiers armed with only four or five magazines had to conserve bullets to avoid running out of ammunition as the Russians, believed to be airborne forces, closed in.

Deprived of sleep after no food or water for more than 24 hours, lacking medical supplies and with most of the team injured and two killed, they were faced with a stark choice.

“When we were patched up when we were all injured and when we were getting to the point where we couldn’t fight anymore, we were like, right, we have to make a choice,” he said

“We stay here and f*****g fight until they kill us, which they will if we stayed because we were outnumbered, or we wait until nightfall when the artillery would slow down, and have a few 10-second windows to run. We made a decision to run.”

The unit, most of whom were injured, retreated under cover of darkness about 2km to Ukrainian lines before the injured fighters were taken to hospital, where he spent several days.

The soldier, who spent seven years in the British Army’s The Rifles, still has shrapnel embedded in his eye and is recovering from his wounds. But he hopes to receive specialist treatment in Ukraine or Poland soon as “I don’t want to be out of the fight any longer”.

He said he was among the first Western volunteers to reach Ukraine after the start of the war and was deployed with other international fighters in the battle of Kyiv before being deployed to other combat zones including Bakhmut, Kharkiv and Irpin.

He volunteered to join the Ukrainian fightback just days after Russia’s invasion

It’s not known how many Westerners have fought for Ukraine, but at least nine British nationals are known to have been killed. Hundreds are believed to have volunteered, although numbers are thought to have dropped off since the start of the war. Official advice from the UK Government warns against travel to Ukraine for any reason.

A close friend of Jordan Gatley, another former soldier from The Rifles who was killed in Severodonetsk last year, said there were still a lot of British fighters in Ukraine.

“When you’re out here and you’re fighting with these people, you get such an emotional attachment to them,” he said.

“These people are literally fighting for their homes. That’s all they are fighting for their homes. I feel so bad for them.”

Source : INews

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