Brits fighting in Ukraine say Putin’s death squads ‘won’t stop us’ as comrades face execution – World News


Foreign Legion volunteer fighter Peter Fouche said he believes Russia’s condemnation of two British fighters, despite official warnings, will only inspire more people to take up arms

Peter Fouche with sniper rifle and Alex in Khakiv, Ukraine
Peter Fouche with sniper rifle and Alex in Khakiv, Ukraine

A Briton fighting in Ukraine and on a recruitment mission here has spoken about how his 13-year-old daughter said to him: “Go daddy, but come back safely.”

And Peter Fouche believes the shock sentences Russia handed down to two captured British fighters this week will prompt more people to join him on the front lines – despite the British government’s warning against such dangerous measures.

Peter flew to Heathrow on Friday after spending three months defending the war-ravaged country.

The 47-year-old, who has daughter Nikola, was working as a carpenter near his home in Fulham, west London, when Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.

Minutes after landing at Heathrow, Peter said: “Children have been murdered. As a father, it affected me deeply.

Macer Gifford conducts training in Ukraine


Macer Gifford)

“I told my daughter I was thinking about leaving and she said, ‘Go daddy, but make sure you come back.’ I love my child so much and I don’t want anyone in the world to go through the pain of losing theirs.”

Peter believes outrage at the execution orders for Shaun, 48, and Aiden, 28, who were convicted as mercenaries by a Russian magistrate’s court this week, could spur other misguided Brits – particularly soldiers and veterans – to join the fight.

But the Defense Ministry has warned serving soldiers that they will be prosecuted if they go to Ukraine to fight.

And any British citizen who joins the fight could end up on trial here under the Foreign Enlistment Act if he survives to return because Britain isn’t technically at war with Russia.

Macer Gifford and Aiden Aslin in 2017


Macer Gifford)

British father Peter Fouche who fought in Ukraine



But Peter insists the fate of the two captured Britons has only made international soldiers determined to fight harder, recruit more people and ensure they are never captured alive by Russian troops.

He said: “The global outrage about it [sentence]especially if it is carried out, it will improve the chances of attracting more foreigners to fight in eastern Ukraine.

“Nobody wants two British soldiers to be murdered. We need to reinforce the troops out here. We won’t be deterred. We are full of energy.”

Shaun of Watford, Herts and Aiden of Newark, Notts were captured while fighting with the Ukrainian Marines.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has justified the invasion by claiming that “Russian” territory should be reclaimed


SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images)

They were paraded before a show trial on Russian television on Thursday.

Peter, who has survived several ambushes by Russian forces, plans to return to the front lines within days and stay there, despite his daughter’s pleas.

“I fight for freedom, democracy and people’s right to live without fear,” he said.

“Battalions are desperate for trainers and are so grateful for foreign support.”

Peter trained as a sniper and paramedic with the South African Police Special Forces 20 years ago.

Ukrainian soldiers take cover during an artillery duel between Ukrainian and Russian troops in the city of Lysyhansk


AFP via Getty Images)

He has lived in the UK for over two decades and holds British citizenship.

In March he joined a convoy of British volunteers heading to the outskirts of Kyiv. He helped build a hospital before joining Ukraine’s Saint Archangel Michael Battalion.

He spent a month training Ukrainian forces in hand-to-hand combat and combat medicine. Then he joined an elite unit of fighters in the Donetsk region.

Peter recalled going behind enemy lines to recover the bodies and equipment of fallen soldiers – and being forced to take cover as artillery fire rained down.

British mercenaries Sean Pinner (left) and Aiden Aslin and Moroccan Saadoun Brahim (Ibrahim Saadun) (right) were sentenced to death



His unit was ambushed as he staked out an armored vehicle in Russian-controlled territory, with Peter treating two comrades who took shrapnel in the back.

On another occasion, they were shot at while trying to change a tire on a cratered road in the dark.

“The first time it’s hell on earth — you’re petrified to the bone,” Peter said.

“After that you go into survival mode. We were in situations no one should step out of. I had two close friends in the hospital. Several have been lost in our battalion.

“I am very connected to God. Every time the artillery came, I prayed.”

Peter’s unit was near Kharkiv when they heard of Aiden and Shaun’s respective captures in April.

He recalled: “Some British colleagues out there were very upset and angry about it, but it didn’t change our morale.”

Both the British government and Ukraine’s chief prosecutor have said the death sentences violate the Geneva Conventions.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has ordered ministers to do everything in their power to secure her release.

And Foreign Minister Liz Truss has spoken with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba about efforts to free prisoners of war.

Relatives say Aiden and Shaun, who both lived in Ukraine and have Ukrainian partners, urgently need access to medical and legal help.

They and a captured Moroccan militant have been given a month to appeal their sentences.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaking in Blackpool


(Getty Images)

Another British volunteer, Macer Gifford, who is a friend of Aiden’s, backed calls for the British government to secure her release.

He said: “You should take this incredibly seriously. This is an affront to our country.”

Macer, 35, a former Cambridge forex trader, is taking a short break after spending six weeks training 1,500 Ukrainian soldiers in tactical, combat and casualty care – but plans to return within a month.

He said: “Aiden is a good guy, a lovely person, a real guy – someone who cares.

“There is now a sense of grim determination among the combatants. What happened won’t stop us from fighting – only from surrendering.”

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