An Irishman seriously wounded in fighting with Ukrainian forces last week was told by doctors he is lucky to be alive.
rian Meagher (35) was a member of the Irish Defense Forces for 15 years and faced with the devastation unfolding in Ukraine he decided to join the Foreign Legion.
Last week, the father-of-two joined Ukraine’s offensive in Kharkiv and while on the front lines, his unit was hit by shrapnel from mines and then ambushed by Russian forces.
Mr Meagher said they were a number of discarded Russian tanks but one unit survived and attacked the Foreign Legion fighters.
“As soon as it happened I thought I was fine. My mind didn’t register with my body. So I started running because I saw smoke coming from the explosion. I found out later that I was hit twice,” he said.
“Liquid filled my lungs. Because I was struggling to breathe, it was like slowly drowning. I didn’t realize at the time that I had been shot. It just got so bad that I said, right, if I’m gonna die, I’m gonna die comfortably. So I just started taking off my PP.
In conversation with RTÉ prime time During the program, Mr Meagher said he had two pieces of shrapnel in his heart and two in the T10 section of his spinal cord.
“It probably took 30 minutes to get back to the casualty collection point. They were basically operating tables like in an abandoned house and only filled with medical staff,” he added.
Mr Meagher said Russian troops had been driven out of the town but nearly a third of his unit was knocked out in the attack.
“The Ukrainian self-propelled gun – it looked dead, so I’m assuming it was killed. And the guy that sat in the back of the pickup was an American Green Beret for 20 years, he’s missing. So they comb the morgues I think about 10 people were hit,” he said.
The Ratoath resident joined the Irish Army at the age of 17 and stayed until 2018.
He said seeing the devastation wreaked on cities like Bucha motivated him to join the Foreign Legion.
“I was thinking whether I’m going to go or not, you know, they needed people. They needed soldiers. So I just decided to go. I didn’t know anyone here. I just bought all the gear and came over,” he said.
“What used to annoy me was when we were at the front and you had artillery coming in, you could hear boom. And then the next one, bigger and bigger. Oh my gosh this is coming and all you can do is curl up into a ball and try to get next to sandbags I felt helpless with nowhere to go.
“I would like to come back here because the fighters on the front lines need so much stuff. I might like to come back in the future because I know a lot of people are very afraid to go to the front. I know where stuff is needed.”
He added: “I regret getting hit so quickly on offense. I just wanted to do more. I couldn’t, so I probably only have regrets. I’m very glad I came here.”
“I know if Ireland were attacked I would want Europeans and foreign men to come and help us fight. So that’s all, that’s all I’ve done.”
https://www.independent.ie/news/irish-man-fighting-with-ukrainian-forces-lucky-to-be-alive-after-mine-blast-41993118.html Irish man fights with Ukrainian forces after mine blast, lucky to be alive