A former British soldier fighting in Ukraine has recalled what it was like liberating the city of Kherson from Russian forces as local people ran to greet him with “tears pouring down their cheeks”. Christopher Perryman, 38, from Durham, has been operating as a sniper on the frontline fighting with a unit of foreign fighters attached to Ukrainian forces.
The former Royal Regiment of Fusiliers soldier said he served 16 years in the British Army before heading to Ukraine, he is not a serving British soldier anymore.
Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk Mr Perryman said his unit was part of Ukrainian forces that liberated the southern city of Kherson on November 11 following months of Russian occupation.
He said: “The people out here especially those who couldn’t leave their homes when Russia first invaded are amazing.
“They have so little yet still manage to feed us and give us a warm floor to sleep on.
“Whilst pushing for Kherson they would run out of their houses tears pouring down their cheeks, Kissing is and cuddling us like the weight of the world had been lifted off their shoulders.
“It’s not something I’ve ever experienced even after serving 16 years in the Brit military.
“Things like that make us forget how tired we are, how hungry or how heavy our gear is. It makes it all worthwhile.”
Mr Perryman said it shortly after he and fellow soldiers carried out the Kherson operation they met and posed for photographers with former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.
As for meeting the current President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Mr Perryman said it was on his “bucket list” to meet the “big man”.
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Despite being liberated in November, Kherson remains under attack from Russian artillery, Russian forces also shelled residential areas earlier this week leaving four people wounded.
Heavy shelling and bombardment has continued in the region close to the Crimea which was annexed by Putin’s soldiers in 2014. Earlier this month in the recently retaken areas of the southern Kherson region, Russian shelling killed two people and wounded nine others, Kherson’s Ukrainian governor, Yaroslav Yanushevich said the Russian forces fired at the city of Kherson 32 times on on one day.
Mr Perryman said he hoped more Western country’s would send heavy armour and equipment to soldiers in Ukraine as Russian artillery attacks were having an impact and working “incredibly well” for Putin’s soldiers.
He said: “Nothing worse than hearing arty being fired then sitting there listening for the whistle to see how close it’s going to be to your position.
“More anti-air is needed across the front line along with better small arms weapons.
“Tanks and armoured vehicles are great but the shooters on the ground need weapons that work and more ammunition. The attacks are increasing up north but south east they have adopted more of an artillery campaign which if I’m honest is working incredibly well unfortunately for us.”
The Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) said it advised all British nationals against travelling to the Ukraine.
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