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Briton who flew to join Russian forces in Ukraine insists he is ‘not a terrorist’ | World News

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A British man who flew to Russia to fight alongside Vladimir Putin’s forces in Ukraine has insisted he is “not a terrorist”.

Ben Stimson filmed himself dressed in Russian combat gear and flaunted a grenade apparently looted from Ukrainian forces.

He has posted footage appearing to show foreign fighters walking past dead bodies in the war zone – as well as a road trip out of occupied Mariupol.

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“Yes, I’m back in Russia and I’m back in uniform,” he says in one video, insisting that he believes what he is doing is right in another.

It not his first stint in Ukraine, having spent four months in the Donbas region with pro-Russian militia in 2015 – a trip he summed up as “vodka, women and guns”.

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Ben Stimson waves a captured Ukrainian grenade. Pic: Ben Stimson
Image:
Ben Stimson waves a captured Ukrainian grenade. Pic: Ben Stimson

Upon his return to the UK he was convicted of a terror offence and jailed for more than five years.

A judge accepted that Stimson did not “actually engage in any fighting” during that time in Ukraine “and had intended to perform humanitarian work”, despite him being pictured holding an AK-47.

Now, it seems, Stimson is back with Russian forces once again.

He is believed to have flown out to Russia possibly via a third country in late February.

In pictures posted to social media, Stimson claims to have been detained at a UK airport under the Terrorism Act and had phones and a laptop confiscated, but later said on 25 February he had made it to Moscow.

If he returns to the UK, Stimson could once again face investigation and possible imprisonment.

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A foreign fighter in what is reported to be the Donbas region of Ukraine. Pic: Ben Stimson
Image:
A foreign fighter in what is reported to be the Donbas region of Ukraine. Pic: Ben Stimson

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“Every man takes his choice,” he says in a video. “A lot of us chose to come over to this side… to the Russian side, because we believe what we’re doing [is] right.

“It’s easy to call someone a terrorist,” he adds. “We do what we believe is right… I am not a f****** terrorist. Remember that.”

He also filmed himself holding up a grenade apparently captured from Ukrainian forces – taunting viewers back home that it had been paid for by UK taxpayers.

Another British man is also with Russian forces in Ukraine, according to reports.

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A government spokesperson said: “The government’s priority remains maintaining the safety and security of the UK.

“Any person who travels from the UK to conflict zones to engage in unlawful activity, should expect to be investigated upon their return.”

Additional OSINT reporting by Olive Enokido-Lineham

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