Thursday, December 08, 2022

Brave Lanarkshire veteran heads into battle to join the fight for Ukraine

A brave Lanarkshire army veteran is heading into battle as he joins the fight for Ukraine.

Gary Bonini has answered Volodymyr Zelensky’s call to arms as the Ukranian President forms a new international brigade to defend his country from the Russian invasion.

Former sniper Gary – a veteran of two tours of Afghanistan – is preparing to head to the warzone later this week to sign up for the Territorial Defense Force, which is made up of military reservists.

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With a 12 year career in the British Army under his belt, the 30-year-old is well equipped for the battleground, but admits he is “apprehensive” without the might of NATO behind him.

Speaking to Lanarkshire Live today, Gary, from East Kilbride, said: “For me it’s not so much answering the call of the Ukrainian President, as it was waiting for him to allow us to travel.

“I have been eagerly watching and waiting since the initial invasion until now. Every day it gets harder to watch as Ukraine struggles to repel invaders.

“I’m very keen to get out there and do what I’ve trained my entire life to do. But I am apprehensive as this is not deploying as a British soldier with the might of NATO at your call – this is a few guys traveling to support an isolated country in potentially one of the bloodiest conflicts of our age.”

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Gary told Lanarkshire Live ‘Russia is no joke, this is not a skirmish’

Gary added that his family are also apprehensive but “fully supportive” of his courageous mission.

Joining the Royal Regiment of Scotland at just 16, Gary was posted to Germany where he lived and trained until deploying to Afghanistan in the Reconnaissance platoon.

Later qualifying as a sniper, he moved to 1 Scots Specialist Infantry battalion in Belfast.

Since leaving the forces in November 2019, he worked as a private contractor in the anti-piracy sector, working around Somalia until the middle of the COVID pandemic.

Gary has worked in the oil and gas industry for the last six months, but is quitting his job for the cause, funding his own travel overseas.

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Gary is a veteran of two tours of Afghanistan

He added: “I have had to suspend my employment. This has been one of the biggest challenges and will strongly dictate my ability to stay in-country and assist.

“I am hoping to have a GoFundMe page started to cover my living costs whilst abroad, as well as give me the ability to assist financially whilst in Ukraine.”

On February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a large-scale invasion of Ukraine – the largest conventional warfare operation in Europe since World War II.

The devastating attack has shattered peace in Europe, with thousands of the country’s 44 million population fleeing the devastation as innocent civilians perish.

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Gary Bonini, 30, has answered a call to arms as he forms a new international brigade to defend Ukraine

Praising the Ukranians for their heroic stance against Putin’s ruthless attack, Gary said: “In my eyes the Ukrainian people are doing amazing, proud fighting hard and making their country.

“I feel the threat they face is something which the world has not seen in many decades.

“Russia is no joke, this is not a skirmish.

“I plan to hold all my opinions to myself until I can verify with my own eyes the extent of the battle but from what has been reported the invasion has taken a massive step up in the past 24 hours.

“I’m keen to get out there and raise awareness and make sure like-minded individuals with experience know to contact their local Ukrainian embassy for guidance.”

You can support Gary online.

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