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Foreign legion Man fleeing Ukraine reveals how 'Irish veterans' have arrived to take up arms

'And they're coming from all nations to formally join the Ukraine Foreign Legion as part of the military'

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A woman walks past a destroyed military vehicle, as Russia's invasion of Ukraine continues, in the town of Bucha in the Kyiv region, Ukraine March 1, 2022. Picture taken March 1, 2022. REUTERS/Serhii Nuzhnenko

A woman walks past a destroyed military vehicle, as Russia's invasion of Ukraine continues, in the town of Bucha in the Kyiv region, Ukraine March 1, 2022. Picture taken March 1, 2022. REUTERS/Serhii Nuzhnenko

A woman walks past a destroyed military vehicle, as Russia's invasion of Ukraine continues, in the town of Bucha in the Kyiv region, Ukraine March 1, 2022. Picture taken March 1, 2022. REUTERS/Serhii Nuzhnenko

An Irishman fleeing the Russian invasion of Ukraine has described how the first “Irish veterans” have arrived to take up arms as part of the embattled country’s Foreign Legion.

Businessman Brendan Murphy is heading towards the Polish border with his family by car.

But he told Newstalk Breakfast how men with the Irish Tricolour on their arm are joining others from various nations to fight.

"The first Irish veterans - they have to have military experience - arrived in Ukraine last night, which is good to see because they have the Irish Tricolour on their arm,” he said.

"And they're coming from all nations to formally join the Ukraine Foreign Legion as part of the military.

"So, it's not only the Ukrainians who are very defiant, it's other people too".

Mr Murphy added that despite the cold weather conditions they have been fortunate on their journey so far.

"We're in a safe house - we've been fortunate in that we've had safe houses organised between Irish and Ukrainian people along the way.

"Except for one night when we were under a bomb, an attack siren, so we were stuck by the side of the road.

"And we're waiting for documentation from the DFA, so once all of that is in place we'll cross.

"If you can imagine a car - and it's snowing now and it's cold - that's the difficulty.

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"Especially with an elderly mother-in-law and a three-year-old child".

Meanwhile, a correspondent in Ukraine a gun had pointed at him while he was live on air with Morning Ireland.

John Sweeney of The Independent was reporting from the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, hours after a Russian attack on a TV tower.

As he was interviewed by presenter Gavin Jennings, a Ukrainian soldier approached Mr Sweeney and pulled a gun on him.

“There’s a guy shouting at me with a gun,” John said, abruptly ending his interview. “I have to go — bye.”

He then hung up but explained what happened when he returned a few minutes later

“There’s lots of militia on the streets, and they’re checking out [people’s identifications]” the former BBC Correspondent told Mr Jennings.

“I almost got arrested as a Russian spy. It’s a little bit paranoid, but it’s ok. You can talk your way through, but I had to deal with the guy, so I had to say goodbye quickly.

John described how, after the TV tower was hit, Russian missiles have also killed, “I believe, four civilians — I saw with my own eyes, one dead man, and a mother and child [killed by missiles].’

He further explained that the people conducting checks were Ukrainian soldiers ensuring that people are not on the side of the Russians.

“[The soldiers are] around town, checking on people to make sure they’re not spies, [and] to make sure that there are no Russian soldiers in the centre of Kyiv,” John explained.

“It’s just people being jumpy. It’s okay. We can deal with it — but I can’t talk to you [in Ireland] and talk to them at the same time, because they have guns.”

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