Ukraine war: 3,000 British volunteers fighting on Ukrainian side against Russia, says Georgian commander

·2-min read

Around 3,000 British volunteers are currently fighting on the Ukrainian side in the war against Russia, a Georgian commander has told Sky News.

It is believed there are currently 20,000 foreign soldiers in Ukraine.

Seeking more information about the role played by foreign nationals, we spoke to veteran Georgian officer, Mamuka Mamuashvili.

He is in charge of the Georgian Legion, another military unit under Ukrainian command comprised largely of foreigners.

Mr Mamuashvili founded it when hostilities in eastern Ukraine began in 2014.

Moscow 'using weapons of mass destruction'; students pose for graduation photos in ruins of city - Ukraine news live

He said around 70% to 80% of the foreign volunteer fighters initially pass through the Georgian unit.

However, only one in 10 remain in his battalion because he seeks greater combat experience. The rest move onto the International Legion.

Georgians form the largest proportion of foreign fighters in Ukraine with British recruits making up the second-largest contingent.

The Georgian commander believes there are around 3,000 British volunteers currently fighting on the Ukrainian side - but the UK government does not officially track the number of Britons going to Ukraine.

The Ukrainians may know the true figure, but it's unclear if they really check if someone claims to be British.

Ukrainian officials have said little about foreign fighters who have travelled there to fight.

Recruits from the United States form the third-largest group.

Subscribe to the Ukraine War Diaries on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify and Spreaker

We do not know how many foreign nationals have volunteered their services and we do not know much about where they come from - although a government-run website says individuals from eight countries, including the UK and Canada, have signed up for their new International Legion.

The legion's website describes how recruits with combat experience can register their interest.

With the death of 24-year-old Briton, Jordan Gately, who was shot and killed in the city of Severodonetsk, much attention has now focused on the risks associated with fighting in Ukraine.

Last week, two former British soldiers were sentenced to death when they were captured by the Russians in Mariupol.

Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner, who joined the Ukrainian military in 2018, were branded as mercenaries and convicted on charges of terrorism. The British government says they should be treated as prisoners of war and called the trial a "sham".

Jordan Gately's father, Dean, said his son was serving in the International Legion when he was killed in Severodonetsk. As well as active combat, he also helped to train volunteer soldiers.

Mamuashvili says a significant proportion of foreign fighters have come to work as instructors with the majority of those now joining the international battalions taking up training roles.

It is an essential task says the Georgian, with his battalion forming into smaller, special forces units to take on the Russians.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting