SAS hero slams Brits fighting in Ukraine – ‘they get away with creating mayhem’

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A hero SAS squaddie has slammed renegade Brits who travelled to eastern Europe and took up arms in a bid to fight back the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Patrol Commander and newly-minted TV star Mark ‘Billy’ Billingham says British men travelling to Ukraine to fight Putin are just “frustrated people” who have never seen action and see it as a chance "to create a bit of mayhem".

Billy, who joined the SAS in 1991 and took part in operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, South America and Africa, told the Daily Star that he is “strongly against” foreign fighters getting involved in the conflict.

Brits Aiden Aslin, 28, and Shaun Pinner, 48, were captured during the battle for Mariupol.

This week a propaganda broadcast on Russian TV threatened that they will be “executed with British guns and bullets”.

The possibility of British citizens being executed in Russia deepens the already complex diplomatic crisis facing the government.

“It complicates the whole process,” says the Who Dares Wins star, adding that the current state of the war in Ukraine gave him flashbacks to the war in Bosnia and “how mixed-up and crazy that got”.

“While I was there,” he recalled, “it added even more to the problems when there were foreign fighters turning up…it just complicates the whole thing”.

  • Hero Brit fighters trapped in bunker with starving Ukrainians in under-siege Mariupol

One of the issues can be the language barrier. In a life-or-death situation communication needs to be fast and clear, and if some combatants aren’t familiar with the language their comrades are speaking it can lead to deadly delays and mixups.

“I remember jumping into a trench in Croatia as we were getting bombed,” says Billy, “and I spoke to the soldiers in there in their language… because I spoke the local language… and they came back to me with Liverpool accents”.

“I was like ‘what the hell are you doing here?’”

  • SAS hero relives time he 'nearly had face cut off' during deadly Somali bomb

Billy, who these days divides his time between writing and charity work, says that a lot of people join the armed forces in hope of seeing action but “not all soldiers go to war” and there are other motives besides the desire to help the Ukrainians.

“I think it’s some people who …they may have been thrown out and they just want a chance to go and find out what war’s really about,” he says.

“They’re just frustrated people who have never done anything in the army in their lives and now it’s like ‘this is my chance to go out there… create a bit of mayhem, fight a war and get away with it – and that’s why I’m against it.”

Professional soldiers who are travelling to Ukraine to train the defenders how to use the new British-made weapons they have been given are obviously an asset, Billy says, but the would-be heroes who are volunteering for service on the front line endanger not only their own lives, but those of the people they’re fighting alongside.

As well as handing Putin a potential propaganda victory if they’re captured.

“I see it when there’s soldiers going out there to train their forces as opposed to fighting with them, the other thing… it’s not the right time to be doing it, it really isn’t.

  • Hero Brit fighter Aiden Aslin cruelly quizzed in Russian TV propaganda broadcast

“They want to go to war, they want to see what it’s all about, and it’s all fine and dandy, but then they’re out there and they end up getting caught up in atrocities and all sorts of stuff.”

“It’s not your country” Billy says. “It’s nothing to do with you.

“You just decide to jump in and call yourself a freedom fighter but in their eyes you’re a terrorist.”

Survive to Fight by Billy Billingham is published by Hodder & Stoughton and is in all good bookshops now

  • Russia Ukraine war
  • SAS

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