This former sniper from Chichester is volunteering to fight in Ukraine

A veteran from Chichester is flying out to assist in Ukraine's fight for freedom next week.
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Retired sniper Shane Matthew, 34, will be heading out to join the Ukrainian resistance next week, hoping to defend the country's embattled capital from Russian invaders.

The Chichester man's decision comes after an urgent appeal by Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, who issued a call to arms for foreign fighters over the weekend.

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Mr Matthew, who served as a lance corporal in the Princess of Wales Royal Regiment and volunteers at Crimsham Farm in Bognor Regis, plans to fly out to Eastern Poland on Monday. From there, he's headed to the Ukrainian border, where he'll get 'armed up' with a local colonel and move on to Lviv and, eventually, Kyiv.

Shane Matthew (left)Shane Matthew (left)
Shane Matthew (left)

A fully-trained field medic, Mr Matthew is travelling with 60kg of medical supplies donated by forces veterans from across the coast: everything from tourniquets to IV kits and bandages. He hopes to provide medical assistance, training and experience to troops across the frontline.

"I've got Ukrainian friends, and I've got British friends I served with in the army, and at the moment and they're absolutely strapped. They're trying to get families out and provide medical assistance to civilians. I'm a qualified field medic, that's what I did in Iraq. So I thought 'let's go out there,"' he explained.

But it's also about principles: about politics and freedom. The simple truth is, Mr Matthew see it as his duty to protect what he believes in.

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"(Putin) is trampling all over democracy. He has illegally invaded a country for absolutely no reason and it needs to be stopped.

"This is massively close to home, it's Europe. It's not a million miles away, it's on our backdoor. Over the last 15 years, I've always been the first to get stuck into things. I'm not to go change my profile picture without going out there and doing something about it.

"People are being oppressed, democracy is being trampled. So it's anyone's responsibility who can to go out and stop it."

His decision follows statements from foreign secretary Liz Truss backing Brits who want to help the fight in Ukraine. Defence secretary Ben Wallace has added that he didn't want to see British people killed any more than he wanted to see Ukrainians, asking people who were not experienced members of the armed forces to stay well away from the fighting.

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Seemingly one of the first Brits to join Ukraine's foreign battalion, Mr Matthew said he would support other veterans heading out to the front line but made clear that untrained civilians should stay home: "In my mind, any civilian that goes out there without military experience is just going to get killed," he said. "And they'll most probably get other people killed at the same time."