Former policeman, British citizen Peter Fouche, now a combat medic in Ukraine’s army, calls on the West to give Ukraine weapons now, or find themselves using those weapons soon.



Euromaidan Press


Last week, an emotional video with a combat medic saying he is ashamed to be a Westerner and calling on Western governments to give Ukraine what it needs to win lest it is exterminated made rounds on social media.

Despite early claims, Peter Fouche, originally from South Africa, is not with the International Legion, a unit for foreigners who want to join the Ukrainian Army, but with the Armed Forces of Ukraine. He became a combat medic despite an initial aversion to blood, runs the charity Project Konstantin (part of our Verified Ways to Help the Army list), which conducts casualty evacuations and procures ambulances for frontline medics, and says that if Western nations don’t give Ukraine the weapons it needs yesterday, they better keep them for themselves.

Here is a shortened text version of our interview:

What compelled you to join the Ukrainian Army?

I’m a father and an ex-policeman. At the beginning of the full-scale invasion, I was in London, my mother had come from South Africa to visit. I saw the news of children being murdered [in Ukraine] on TV. As a father, my protective instincts kicked in. I shouted, “Mom, I’m going to Ukraine.” That was my driving reason: to protect the children of Ukraine so no more parents have to go through the pain of losing a child.

How old are you? Do you have kids?

I’m 49, and my daughter is 15 years old.

Do you have any personal connection to Ukraine?

No, not at all. Although I have developed a saying, “Yesterday I was a Brit, today I am a Ukrainian.” I love your country, I love your culture, and your incredible peaceful soulful connection. It’s in the way you cook, you speak, you sing. I think I’ve been connected to Ukraine since long before I was born.

Where are you serving, if that’s safe to tell?

I have to be vague about it. I’m in the East, outside of Bakhmut somewhere.

What is your daily job? How long have you been doing it?

I’m a medical instructor and a combat medic. The biggest part of my job is casualty evacuation: rescuing wounded soldiers from zero and evacuating them to safety.

And also arranging supplies of medicine and delivering medical supplies. I’ve only officially been in the Armed Forces of Ukraine (ZSU) for three months. But all my time in Ukraine, I’ve been a volunteer medic. I run the Project Konstantin charity with my co-director Halyna. It’s a frontline medivac volunteer service.

For a year and a half, before I joined the army, we were evacuating soldiers out of Bakhmut and Kreminna Forest. I got a lot of medical experience there. And then the army invited me to join.

Project Konstantin continues to provide vehicles, Starlinks, generators, Blanchetta, Google tablets, and medical supplies, of course. So I’m a medic by day, raising supplies for ZSU by night.

Did you have any medical experience before coming to Ukraine?

None whatsoever. I was scared of blood, the most squeamish person you could ever imagine. I was a cab driver in London when my brother died in a tragic motorcycle accident in South Africa.

I thought: “I want to be a medic and save people who are in desperate need.”

I went to spend a day with the London Ambulance but ran home after the first sign of blood. And then Ukraine happened. I joined the Territorial Defense at the beginning of the war. I got two sessions of TCCC combat life safety training in the foyer of the hotel of Khreschatyk in Kyiv, totaling about five hours. Not long after, they handed me the keys to an ambulance and a rifle and said, off to Sievierodonetsk you go. And the rest is history.

How do you treat the soldiers when you evacuate them from the battlefield? What’s your daily life like?

Two to three medics usually live on duty in a bunker. We have Starlink and radio connections to the outside world. We get a call or hear the broadcast on the radio that somebody’s been injured and prepare.

As soon as the combat medics on zero evacuate a wounded soldier, they bring him to me and the Project Konstantin volunteers. We stabilize him, rapidly transport him into a waiting 4×4, and evacuate him further from the front while continuing to work on him.

We will hand him to paramedics with more equipment in a road ambulance 10-15 kilometers away. They can further stabilize him and then deliver him into the hands of surgeons at nearby stabilization points.

So you treat the soldiers right in this van that you’re sitting in right now?

Yes, the seats are removed. There’s one seat where the medic sits, but it’s an open vehicle at the back, so you can throw in a stretcher. Project Konstantin is constantly fundraising for vehicles like this.

Vehicles are our biggest need, there are just never enough, Russians keep blowing them up. And Donetsk roads themselves are terrible; Donetsk eats cars.

Soldiers fight with guns and bullets; medics — with tourniquets and vehicles. Ambulances are our weapons, so we are constantly appealing for vehicles.

What is your most harrowing experience and most catastrophic injury that you treated?

The most catastrophic injury I’ve seen was a 28-year-old soldier who received an RPG rocket to his left thigh. The RPG was stuffed full of phosphorus, a horrible chemical that burns upon contact with the atmosphere.

The soldier’s leg was no longer a leg. There was just a bit of sinew and spaghetti holding his thigh under his groin to below the knee, where it again started looking like a leg. I was handed the soldier in the dead of night with my red light helmet, my only light, 800 meters from zero.

I was cutting burning phosphorus out of this gentleman’s leg with my knife whilst holding him down. Smoke is coming out of his leg and filling my cabin. I’m in the back, Tetiana’s driving, but I’m digging burning phosphorus out of this poor guy’s leg, and he’s asking me, “Am I going to live? Am I going to be okay?” And I’m trying to placate him, keep him calm, administer drugs to take away the pain.

It was terrible – not only was he shot by an RPG in his leg, but he’s got this enduring pain of this burning going on. It was a horrible experience, and I’ll never forget it.

This must be a terrible toll on your overall mental health. How has it affected you?

There have been soldiers in wars around the world who are haunted by the things that they’ve had to do and the things that they’ve seen in other wars. These were often wars motivated by crooked politics and oil; these make me want to puke.

But they have not been righteous wars. This is a justified self-defense that Ukraine is engaged in. We are fighting a holy war. This is pure good versus pure evil. So I’m not traumatized by the stuff I have to get up to every day.

I’m not traumatized because this war is completely correctly motivated: there is no injustice behind the self-defense of Ukraine.

But what is painful is the look on these boys’ faces when they come to me, and half of their body is missing. Some have got no arms. Some have got no hands. Some have got no jaws. Some have got no legs. Some have lost their entire units. And I try giving them a little hope everywhere I go.

I don’t know how I deal with it. I’ve become a lot more impatient. I seek solitude, and I immerse myself in keeping busy. To be alone with your thoughts can be traumatic. I don’t handle bullshit easily. I want to speak business, and I want to speak results. If you’re helping Ukraine, you can talk to me. Other than that, I’ve got no time for you. It’s turned me into a machine that is driven for solutions to help Ukraine.

This brings us to your video. What drove you to record it? Was it any one single incident, or just the general situation?

It was the general situation. Right before I recorded it, I watched an interview on DW, and I saw the pain and the desperation on my commander-in-chief, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s face.

I’ve watched that man closely through. I’ve watched that hero closely through the stages of this war.

He’s a true leader. He’s got the most difficult job on earth. I watched the intense desperation, pain, and suffering on his face. And it drew me to want to speak out.

I was sitting on my chair in our base, and this volcano came rushing out of my body. I ran outside and kneeled down in the snow. And the words just came out, like I was speaking in tongues.

Every day I pray for two things: for God to put my feet in a good direction and to bring good people into my life. And I believe this was God asking me and telling me.

God blessed me with an English tongue and a voice. If one of the tools in my toolbox is being able to speak, then let me speak for Ukraine and my brothers and sisters on the Zero Line.

The pain, the suffering, the procrastination of Western nations that are supposed to be helping Ukraine, stopping this tsunami of death that’s going to sweep across Europe if Ukraine doesn’t stop it — this all compelled me to make this video.

I’ve got a lot of friends in the army who message me regularly. I never get any happy messages anymore.

Destitution, pain, and frustration are everywhere. It’s palpable, you can cut it with a knife. And there’s a sense of, I wouldn’t say hopelessness, because there’s a lot of fighting spirit in Ukraine. But things are, for want of a better word, desperate.

I live with soldiers. I see soldiers every single day. I want to see happy soldiers. I want to see optimistic soldiers.

I want to see soldiers who aren’t somehow possessed by the knowledge that there’s a very good chance that we are going to die when we go to the front because there is no artillery to back us up.

I want to work with soldiers who are encouraged by knowing that somebody with a big caliber artillery machine can back them up from 12 kilometers behind if they really get into trouble.

Those kinds of things provide optimism and help the fighting spirit. But we don’t have them. We are holding 5.45-millimeter caliber rifles while facing Russian rockets, jets, cluster munitions, and artillery rounds. And we cannot stand up to it.

Ukraine does have an infinite supply of fighting spirit but not an infinite supply of trained soldiers.

What do you think will happen next? What should Western nations be doing?

We will go wherever we go tomorrow, and we will carry on defending. The frontline is not stable, it’s not an optimistic place. Speaking from what my friends are telling me, if we don’t get this ammunition yesterday, then you guys better keep it for yourselves.

I’m speaking to Western governments again. If you don’t give it to Ukraine now, keep it for yourselves. Because I bloody well guarantee you, you’ll be using it yourselves.

There’s a mural painted on a wall somewhere: just give us artillery and a few airplanes, the rest we’ll do ourselves.

“We’re not asking for too much. We only need artillery shells and aircraft. We’ll do the rest ourselves. Armed Forces of Ukraine.” This is the message of Ukrainian soldier call sign “Skhidnyi,” who until 2021 was a partisan in the Russian-occupied town of Kadiivka and now defends Ukraine

The strongest and most powerful army in the world is around Ukraine. And Ukraine is walking around with its finger in the air, going: “bring it on, bring it on, bring it on.”

And we can and have been successful. Kyiv — we kicked their asses. Kharkiv — we kicked their asses. Kherson — we kicked their asses. We are supremely better fighters. We are defending our homeland, our families, our children. No force on earth can touch us if we have the weapons to defend ourselves.

It’s not the size of the dog in the fight. It’s the size of the fight in the dog. The fight inside of each Ukrainian is massive. We are fighting with matchsticks against a giant. And we keep showing them who’s boss.

But we are being hung out to dry. And I don’t know why. I do not understand all this politics. I don’t care for it. None of us do. All we care about is going home to our families, wives, and children.

I’m sick and tired of wrapping up bodies and asking for Hero Bags. I used to call them body bags; I changed the name to Hero Bags. Do you know how many body bags Project Konstantin has delivered and how many I’ve zipped up? I’ve never counted them. But I’m sick and tired of doing it.

And I’m sick and tired of people using Ukrainian soldiers and using them as a sacrificial lamb. I don’t know what they’re up to. Are they waiting for us to bleed Russia dry? Are they waiting for us to weaken Russia so that they can come in and claim the prize? Ukraine will not be around for that much longer if this continues.

I’ve seen Ukrainian children and families being raped and tortured and dismembered. If you want to start hearing about widespread child rape and widespread family murder, then very soon, Ukraine will be your destination. This will happen soon if this isn’t stopped: we are facing pure evil, hell-bent on eradicating Ukraine.

We can’t do this on our own. We need your help. Ukraine is a beautiful, peaceful nation. We’re stopping them. We’re stopping them from Poland, from Estonia, from the rest of Europe.

But how many of us do you want to sacrifice? Why does it have to take so long? All we want is a few artillery shells and a few aircraft. The rest we do ourselves.

I’m a Christian. I pray every day. If I can encourage the rest of the world to please pray. God is love. Love is a good thing. I love Ukraine, Ukraine loves me, and that’s produced some pretty damn fine results. Let’s all introduce a bit of prayer, love, and a bit of God into each of us.

But also bring those damn shells, please.

And one more little message to Ukraine. Support your army. They’re the bravest boys I’ve ever come across in my life. They’re the bravest army that’s ever existed on planet Earth. They’re so inventive, strong, humorous, fun. But they need your help. Ukrainian soldiers spend their entire salaries every month on equipping themselves and putting diesel in their cars and stuff. Not because they have to but because they want to.

But we need more. We need more. We need the West to supply us. And we need Ukraine to unite beyond ZSU. So, please. God bless. Thank you.