British soldier, who survived multiple gunshots in Ukraine war and nicknamed Rambo, says ‘he would do it all over again’
A crowdfunding initiative has started to bring Shareef Amin’s Ukrainian fiancée Helen Vitvickaja, 33, and her son, 10, to the UK.
A British army veteran from Bristol has been nicknamed Rambo by colleagues after he survived multiple shrapnel wounds in battle with Russian troops in Ukraine.
Shareef Amin, 40, a former soldier in Britain’s 1st Battalion ‘The Rifles’, suffered injuries to every limb but said that he is ready to do it all over again.
His friends have now started a crowdfunding initiative to bring his Ukrainian fiancée Helen Vitvickaja, 33, and her son, 10, to the UK.
Amin left for Ukraine when the war started in February to give humanitarian support. Later, he started to train the Ukrainians and eventually signed up as a soldier.
On a reconnaissance trip far behind enemy lines in October, he was injured and required three months of hospitalisation.
Amin was hit by bullets while running through enemy fire before being knocked down by artillery rounds. During the battle, he suffered two punctured lungs and significant injuries to every limb.
He was compared to Sylvester Stallone’s movie soldier Rambo because he managed to propel himself on his back through the mud amid fierce shelling while remaining conscious and waited to be rescued.
“I shouldn’t be alive. I was in a shallow trench with my friend, a Ukrainian who we called Professor, helmet to helmet, hand in hand, as the artillery rounds just kept coming. The next thing I know I hear this almighty thud. It felt like someone had dragged me underground,” Amin was quoted as saying.
“Professor’s body just went limp like a rag doll. He landed on top of me. At that point I knew I’d been hit. I thought, ’I’m dead here. This is where I die. Professor was gone, I couldn’t get him off me. I shouted up to Sham to see if he was still alive and said ‘I can’t get out’.”
“This hero, Oleh Shumov, still under fire, jumped out, grabbed Professor by the helmet and dragged him off my body. I pushed myself up and felt almighty agony through my lungs, through my arm. I looked down and my hand was hanging off,” he described the horrific experience.
“I don’t know how I got the strength to pull myself out of that ditch but I did. As I did, I sort of rolled into a front crawl and saw this huge piece of shrapnel sticking out of my leg. It was like a tin can,” the soldier said.
“I forced myself onto my back and my commander pulled me away into some sort of cover as the rounds kept coming down.”
He was flown back to the UK and was admitted into Bristol’s Southmead Hospital for NHS reconstructive surgery.
Though he has lost most of the feeling in his right hand and foot, he started walking again defying doctor’s expectations.
“They’re going to rebuild one of my thumbs out of one of my toes, remove an artery from a leg to replace one under my forearm,” said the soldier, who was awarded a Ukrainian bravery medal.
“I have no regrets. If I sat at home despite having skills that can help, what kind of human being am I?”
The veteran also plans to return to Ukraine to help fight once he is cured.