Artillery vehicle

British veteran shot multiple times and blown up by artillery battles in Ukraine

A British Army veteran who went to fight for Ukraine survived multiple bullets and was blown up by artillery during the bloody war with Russia.

Shareef Amin, 40, who served nine years with the British 1st Battalion “The Rifles”, including two tours in Afghanistan, was injured two weeks ago while on a reconnaissance mission deep behind enemy lines.

Amin – nicknamed “Rambo” by his comrades – and his unit were spotted by the Russians, shot down and then relentlessly shelled, leaving him with gunshot wounds, punctures in both lungs and shrapnel embedded in all four limbs .

Despite horrific injuries, Amin was rescued by his comrades and defied the doctor’s expectations and started walking again – despite losing most sensation in his right hand and foot.

Shareef Amine

Shareef Amin, 40, a veteran of 1st Battalion ‘The Rifles’ who served two tours in Afghanistan, was seriously injured a fortnight ago while fighting in Ukraine (right)

Friends are now raising funds to bring Amin – originally from Bristol – back to the UK with his Ukrainian fiancée Helen Vitvickaja, 33, and ten-year-old son Plato,

Speaking from his hospital bed, Amin said he went to Ukraine almost as soon as war broke out in February and initially provided humanitarian aid.

But as the fighting escalated, he began to use the skills he had learned in the British Army to train the Ukrainians, eventually enlisting as a soldier.

Amin and his unit were then attacked by Russian troops while patrolling the front lines a fortnight ago.

Amin - nicknamed

Amin – nicknamed “Rambo” by his comrades – traveled to Ukraine to deliver humanitarian aid before committing to fight

He described taking shelter in a shallow trench alongside a fellow Ukrainian known as “the Professor” as they were shelled.

He said: ‘[We were] helmet to helmet, hand in hand, as the artillery shells kept coming. Next thing I know I hear that almighty thud.

“I felt like someone had dragged me underground. I just saw red. The professor’s body went limp like a rag doll. He landed on top of me.

“At that moment I knew I had been hit. I thought, “I died here. This is where I die.” So I accepted it. The teacher was gone, I couldn’t get rid of him.

Amin remembers shouting at another comrade – Oleh Shumov, known as “Sham” – to tell him that he was still alive and needed help.

He described how, although still under fire, Sham jumped out of his own trench and dragged the Professor’s body.

It was then that Amin was confronted with the terrifying extent of his own injuries: his right hand was dangling from his wrist and a piece of shrapnel “the size of a tin can” was embedded in his right leg.

Although he didn’t know it at the time, shrapnel had also found its way under his body armor and down his back, puncturing both lungs.

“I got up and felt this almighty agony through my lungs, through my arm,” he recalled.

“All I had was my left arm. I had my belt kit around me, my bulletproof vest, everything on me. I don’t know how I had the strength to pull myself out of this ditch, but I managed.

“As I did, I kind of rolled into a crawl and I could see this huge shrapnel coming out of my leg. It was like a tin can.

Amin was shot several times by Russian troops, then blown up by artillery fire which left him with two punctured lungs, shrapnel in each limb and his right hand

Amin was shot several times by Russian troops, then blown up by artillery fire which left him with two punctured lungs, shrapnel in each limb and his right hand “suspended”.

Friends are now raising money so Amin and his Ukrainian fiancee Helen Vitvickaja, 33, (left) can return to the UK

Friends are now raising money so Amin and his Ukrainian fiancee Helen Vitvickaja, 33, (left) can return to the UK

“So I forced myself onto my back and my commander pulled me into some sort of cover as the shells continued to fall.

“It started to rain and I said to my commander ‘you have to get me off these rocks, I’m lying on some rocks here and I’m in agony.

“He says ‘you’re not on rocks mate, it’s the shrapnel that went through your body armor and into your back.

“He said ‘don’t worry, I don’t know how, but I’ll get you out of here’.

Shareef and Sham were quickly rescued by Kozak Warrior personnel armored vehicles and driven for 20 minutes to waiting ambulances and hospital.

Three pieces of shrapnel were removed from his body still sitting in a glass jar next to his bedside.

At one point, he remembered doctors standing over him whispering that he wasn’t going to make it.

Despite his massive injuries, he has defied doctors’ expectations and is already walking again – although he still has little sensation in his right hand and foot.

Shareef, who has since been awarded a Ukrainian bravery medal, said: “I have no regrets. I couldn’t sit still.

“If I stayed at home on my laurels, despite my skills that can help, what kind of human being am I?”