About 3,000 British troops are fighting in Ukraine against Russian forces, according to a Georgian commander who oversees operations involving foreign volunteers.
Mamuka Mamulashvili, the commander of the Georgian Legion, said around 20,000 foreign fighters were assisting Ukrainian troops, nearly a seventh of them from the UK.
The Georgian Legion, a military unit under Ukrainian command, represents the largest proportion of foreign fighters in Ukraine. British soldiers are the second largest group and American fighters the third.
Mr Mamuashvili, who founded the unit when hostilities in eastern Ukraine began in 2014, told Sky News that around 70-80% of foreign volunteer fighters initially passed through his unit. But most move on to the International Legion because he is looking for more combat experience.
Despite the commander’s claims, the exact number of British in Ukraine is uncertain. The British government does not track the number of British soldiers fighting in Ukraine and it is unclear whether the nationality of foreign recruits is recorded by Ukraine.
Last week, a former British soldier became the second British national to be killed fighting in Ukraine. Jordan Gatley, 24, was shot dead in Sievierodonetsk, a town crucial in Russia’s attempts to advance into eastern Ukraine.
It came after two British fighters captured by Russian forces in Mariupol were sentenced to death. The soldiers were accused of being “mercenaries” after fighting with Ukrainian troops.
Both Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner were members of regular Ukrainian military units fighting in Mariupol. They were found guilty of taking steps towards a violent power grab in a court in the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic
The British government denounced the trial as a “sham” and said the two men were legitimate members of the Ukrainian army and should be treated as prisoners of war.
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