A former U.S. Special Operations commander from the Tampa area has set up a military training centre in Ukraine, and along with fellow American and British veterans, is passing on skills to soldiers and delivering critical supplies.
Andrew Milburn joined the U.S. Marine Corps from London as a private and retired 31 years later in 2019 as a colonel. His last position was Deputy Commander of Special Operations Central (SOCCENT), which is headquartered at MacDill Air Force Base.
Milburn lives in Lithia, but has been in Ukraine for the past month and recently formed an organization called the Mozart Group to aid Ukrainian soldiers. The name is meant to counter the Russian paramilitary organization the Wagner Group, which experts link to the Kremlin and whose members have been accused of committing war crimes.
During the exclusive interview with N1's Ika Ferrer Gotic, Milburn spoke about working with the Ukrainian army and the training he and his fellow vets are providing:
“The Ukrainian army is very much skilled in many ways, even more than the Americans or the British, for example operating drones. So, it's crucially important that the West provides the Ukrainians with these game-changing weapons. Why aren't they? Well, I think they are naive,” Milburn said.
Milburn has served in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, and Libya and commanded a special operations task force against ISIS in 2016. He began his career as a second lieutenant and later became a colonel and task force commander. As for seeing the aftermath of the Bucha massacre, he added:
“Bodies of the civilians tied up, massacred, shot, women and girls raped by these drunk Russians… they are worse than ISIS.”
The Marine said that he was one of the first people in Bucha, Ukraine, after the Russian retreat, where reports have emerged of a civilian massacre in which nearly 300 people were buried in mass graves. Milburn said that he saw bodies dumped in Bucha, including children.
While noting that civilian casualties are common in war, Milburn said the events in Bucha appeared to be “a very, very deliberate approach to killing civilians.”
“People were dragged from their homes and killed, women gang-raped in cellars and executed.”
Milburn wrote that he is no stranger to the depravity of war but that Russia's actions left him “filled with the deepest contempt and anger.”
Watch the full interview with Col. Milburn above.