Manx bomb disposal specialist training troops in Ukraine

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A Manx bomb disposal specialist has been using his experience to help train troops fighting in Ukraine.

Chris Garrett, from Peel on the Isle of Man, is volunteering and working with the Ukrainian National Guard.

He previously helped in the country between 2014 and 2017, but returned when war broke out in February.

The 38-year-old said: “I’ve been here before, I’ve had the shelling, I’ve had the shooting. I’ve had some pretty close calls in the country.”

“I’m used to how they’re laying the mines here, I’m used to how people are dealing with them as well,” he added.

‘I’m just one person’

While he had worked in the country clearing mines in the past, he said he was now put to better use training other people.

READ ALSO: Ukraine war: Is Russia committing genocide?

“I could go onto the contact line now and clear land mines… but I’m just one person,” Mr Garrett said.

He said he was able to help many more people by “taking groups of 10, 20, 30, 50 guys at a time and teaching them basic awareness”.

Land mine uncovered in ground among leaves
Troops are being trained to identify land mines and mitigate risk

Mr Garrett said many people arriving to fight in Ukraine had never experienced a war zone like it.

He said: “Unless they’ve been to Syria, they’ve probably never had artillery thrown at them for more than maybe one or two rounds, they definitely have not had sustained hour-long artillery fire thrown at them, they’ve probably never had tanks firing at them.”

As a result he said he had met people who had gone to the front line had “left very quickly”.

The 38-year-old said in an “ideal world” there would be a ceasefire and the “fighting would stop immediately”, but he believed the war would continue for a long time and the impact of it would last for “decades”.

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