A British army veteran who volunteered to help defend Ukraine against the Russian invasion has been nicknamed “Rambo" after surviving horrific wounds during a Russian artillery bombardment
Pals of Shareef Amin, 40, are raising money to bring the former squaddie and his fiancée home after he was seriously hurt in the war torn country.
Shareef was repeatedly hit by Russian bullets and shrapnel before being blown off his feet by artillery fire in a battle alongside Ukrainians.
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After being buried under the body of a fallen friend, he eventually managed drag himself out of a trench and was rescued despite suffering horrific wounds.
Though not a Ukrainian, Shareef was one of the first to answer the call to defend the country from Putin following the invasion in February.
The two-time Afghanistan veteran offered his combat skills and first-aid training to help train Ukrainian civilians to defend their homeland.
Shareef, who served nine years in Britain's 1st Battalion 'The Rifles', has suffered punctures to both lungs and injuries to every limb.
At one point he heard doctors whispering to each other over him that he 'wasn't going to make it' – convinced he was going to lose his right hand and foot.
Now a crowdfunding campaign has now been launched to get him, his Ukrainian fiancee Helen Vitvickaja, 33, and her ten-year-old son Platon, back to the UK.
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The former Bristol resident recounted in a video from his hospital bed that while on a deep reconnaissance mission two weeks ago his unit came under intense Russian fire.
Shareef said: “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. I just saw red.
“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'. So I accepted it.
"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 of the trench, grabbed Professor by the helmet and dragged him off my body."
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Saved by his comrade, Shareef was next confronted by the horrifying severity of his injuries.
Somehow though, despite his hand 'hanging off', he managed to pull himself out of the ditch he was trapped in.
He recalled: "I pushed myself up and felt this almighty f***ing agony through my lungs, through my arm.
"I'm a strong boy, I've been using the gym for the last ten years, and I looked down and my hand was hanging off.
"All I had was my left arm. I had my belt kit around me, my body armour, everything on me.
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"I don’t know how I got the strength to pull myself out of that f***ing ditch but I did.
"As I did, I sort of rolled myself into a front crawl and could see this huge piece of shrapnel sticking out of my leg. It was like a tin can.
"So I forced myself onto my back, and my commander pulled me away into some sort of cover as the rounds kept coming down.
"It started to rain and I told my commander 'you need to get me off these rocks, I'm lying on rocks here and I'm in agony'.
"He says 'you're not on rocks mate, that's the shrapnel that's gone up through your body armour and into your back.
"He said 'don't worry, I don't know how, but I'm going to get you out of here'."
Shareef and Sham were soon rescued by Kozak Warrior armoured personnel vehicles and driven for 20 minutes under-fire to waiting ambulances and on to hospital.
Three pieces of shrapnel removed from his body still sit in a glass jar next to his bedside.
Despite his massive injuries he's defied doctors expectations and is already walking again – though he still has little feeling in his right hand and foot.
Shareef, who has since been awarded a Ukrainian bravery medal, said: "I have no regrets. I couldn't sit by.
"If I sat at home on my laurels, despite having skills that can help, what kind of human being am I?"
You can support Shareef's recovery by donating to his crowdfunding campaign here.
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