‘3,000 Britons’ fighting for Ukraine against Russia

Georgian commander says British soldiers make up the second-largest group of foreign fighters

Aisha Rimi
Tuesday 14 June 2022 00:18 BST
British national Jordan Gatley was killed fighting in Ukraine last week
British national Jordan Gatley was killed fighting in Ukraine last week (Facebook)

About 3,000 British soldiers are fighting in Ukraine against Russian forces, according to a Georgian commander who oversees operations involving foreign volunteers.

Mamuka Mamulashvili, the commander of the Georgian Legion, said about 20,000 foreign fighters are assisting Ukrainian troops with nearly a seventh of them from the UK.

The Georgian Legion, a military unit under Ukrainian command, makes up the largest proportion of foreign fighters in Ukraine. British soldiers comprise the second largest group and US fighters are the third.

Mr Mamuashvili, who founded the unit when hostilities in eastern Ukraine began in 2014, told Sky News about 70 to 80 per cent of foreign volunteer fighters initially passed through his unit. But most move on to the International Legion because he seeks greater combat experience.

Despite the commander’s claims, the exact number of Britons in Ukraine is uncertain. The UK government does not track the number of British soldiers fighting in Ukraine and it is unclear if the nationality of foreign recruits is being logged by Ukraine.

A former British soldier last week became the second UK national to be killed fighting in Ukraine. Jordan Gatley, 24, was shot dead in Sievierodonetsk, a crucial city in Russia’s attempts to advance in eastern Ukraine.

It came after two British fighters captured by Russian forces in Mariupol were sentenced to death. The soldiers were were accused of being “mercenaries” after fighting with Ukrainian troops.

Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner were both members of regular Ukrainian military units fighting in Mariupol. They were convicted of taking action towards violent seizure of power at a court in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic

The UK government denounced the trial as a “sham” and said the pair were legitimate members of the Ukrainian army and should be treated as prisoners of war.

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