Ex-soldier to give aid in Ukraine

By Gemma Nettle   |   Reporter   |
Saturday 26th March 2022 12:37 pm
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A former soldier has chosen to go to Ukraine to help refugees cross the border.

Matthew Lambah, from Peel, feels he needs to do his part despite having no connections to the country.

He said: ‘It needs to be stopped. The Russians need to be stopped and with my background I feel I can do more.

‘It’s not going to stop in Ukraine. Putin’s just going to keep going, he can’t go back now after what he’s done, it’s scary.

‘I’ve got no connections to Ukraine, never been there before, I don’t even think I’ve ever met a Ukrainian, it’s just something I feel I need to do.

‘I’ll be helping trying to get refugees over the border and supplies and I will be armed.’

Formerly of the British Army, Mr Lambah served with the Staffordshire regiment, based out in Germany, and left in 2014. His battalion was 3 Mercian (Staffords) as armoured infantry, where he was a Scimitar vehicle driver.

Due to his background, the 36-year-old wanted to help.

terrified

‘I’m not saying I’m not scared going over there next week, I’m absolutely terrified,’ he said. ‘We’re getting hammered by artillery over there and armoured vehicles and we’re giving them a good scrap back but we’re getting hammered by these cruise missiles and bombs, they’re not discriminate, they’re killing anyone that moves.

‘I never thought I’d see this in my lifetime, it’s terrifying.’

Mr Lambah, who currently works as a HGV driver for Mann Hire, said he had booked a one-way ticket and was trying not to think about the risk.

He doesn’t know how long he will be in Ukraine but has said he will be there ‘until something’s done’ or until he has to come back.

He added: ‘I think if you put a date on something then it can conflict your mind if you’re somewhere bad, your mind will be off especially close to the time you’re due to come back because you’re thinking about your friends and family. I can’t risk that.’

Leaving on March 29, the details of his location are a mystery even to him as Mr Lambah will be given instructions only when he crosses the border.

Mr Lambah said: ‘The Russians are all over locations so I can’t give any details on that but even I’m in the dark about it until I get there.’

Asked how his family and friends reacted, he said they had been supportive but ‘it was a very hard decision to make’ and difficult for them all.

‘Everyone’s supportive but it’s hard, we’ve all got to understand the bigger picture, it’s so hard but they need me more over there, these people do,’ he said. ‘I just want to get there at the moment, I’ll figure the rest out when I’m there.

‘There’s not enough people doing what they can do – I just want to get it done and then come back home to see my loved ones.’

He added: ‘I’ve got a four-year-old daughter and I’ve got a beautiful girlfriend. I’ve got a loving family and amazing job, amazing friends, and it’s been one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make.

‘But the likes of the other day when that theatre got hit and all those kids got killed, it’s breaking my heart.

‘I couldn’t sleep, I just feel I can do more over there because I was armoured infantry, it’s my sort of bread and butter.

‘It’s about what they’re doing over there and what they’re using as weapons as well and I feel like I can do more over there than I can do here.’

Mr Lambah is currently appealing for money and medical supplies that people can spare.

He said: ‘This is an impulsive war, I haven’t had time to save money and I won’t be earning when I’m out there.’

Anyone who would like to donate or contact him can do so on his Facebook page.

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