Ukraine

Veterans on dangerous lifesaving mission in Ukraine

The Mozart Group was set up in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine and to counter the Wagner Group of mercenaries.

The leader of a group of veterans helping to evacuate Ukrainian civilians has told Forces News many are "not registering" what is happening around them as the war with Russia continues.

In eastern Ukraine, many of the towns and villages have been under relentless Russian shelling for months. 

Remarkably, some civilians remain - with volunteers from the Mozart Group helping to extract them.

The group is made up of veterans from around the world, all volunteers, and led by American Colonel (Ret'd) Andrew Milburn, who fought in the Iraq war and led Special Operations missions against so-called Islamic State.

He founded the Mozart Group after Moscow's invasion to counter Russia's infamous Wagner Group, a mercenary group tied closely to Russia's military.

He told Forces News as the danger level increases, more Ukrainians have decided they want to leave, but a number of civilians are "living in shellshock" and "are just not registering what is going on".

"We see people try and continue with their lives," he said.

"A lady pruning her roses in the yard even when there is Russian artillery landing less than a block away.

"A man trying to start a leaf blower amidst the debris of his apartment block."