Ex-British Army sniper who served in Afghanistan and is now volunteering in Ukraine says the Taliban were better fighters than Russian soldiers, report says
- British veteran training fighters in Ukraine described the “complete incompetence” of Russian forces.
- Shane Matthew, who served in Afghanistan, said the Taliban “would do a better job” than the Russian troops.
- The once-feared Russian military invasion of Ukraine has stalled.
When Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called for foreigners to come to fight “side by side” with Ukrainians, around 20,000 volunteers from around the world signed up.
Shane Matthew, 34, a British veteran who served two tours in Afghanistan and is now helping train fighters in Ukraine, told The Times of London that Russian forces appeared to be “tactically inferior” to the Ukrainians.
Matthew told the paper that he saw a 12-man Russian foot patrol enter the strategic city of Irpin near Kyiv, who started “panicking” when a firefight ensued. He said most of the Russian troops were killed, and a few fled.
“The Taliban would do a better job . . . there’s no way they could encircle Kyiv,” Matthew said.
Matthew told the paper that he is not part of the foreign legion but is independently training civilians who have joined the territorial defense forces.
The veteran told The Times that he believed he was “100% on the winning side” after seeing Russian troops’ “complete incompetence” in Irpin.
“They are tactically inferior. We’ve managed to take massive amounts of ground from the Russians,” he told the paper.
Matthew told the paper that he asked if any of a 50-strong Ukrainian force had been shot at before during one training session, and none of them had. Despite their inexperience, he said they appeared to be more capable than their Russian counterparts.
Since launching its military invasion of Ukraine several weeks ago, the once-feared Russian military has made surprisingly slow progress.
Russian President Vladimir Putin thought Russia’s military could capture Kyiv in two days, but it still hasn’t in 23.
Reports also suggest that the Russian military has lost many top military officers in Ukraine.
The Kremlin has not acknowledged the scale of its losses, last admitting that it had lost 498 Russian troops on March 2.