Veteran war correspondent Bill Neely reflects on Irish history’s bearing on Ukraine invasion

Northern Ireland-born veteran war correspondent Bill Neely has reported from conflicts around the world.

He joined View From Stormont to discuss the ongoing invasion of Ukraine by Russia.

Having worked for broadcasters including BBC, ITV, Sky and NBC for decades, he has covered countless stories including the Troubles in Northern Ireland, the fall of the Berlin wall, the Gulf wars, the siege of Beslan, and the war in Afghanistan.

Bill Neely has reported from conflicts and disaster zones around the world.

He tells UTV presenter Paul Clark he feels he “dodged a bullet” by having retired last year from the day job - otherwise he would be in Ukraine where a number of journalists have already been killed, including Irish cameraman Pierre Zakrzewski.

“I have seen Pierre for the best part of 20 years, in and out of all sorts of conflicts – Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, the Arab Spring in Egypt and elsewhere,” Bill said.

“And he had a very, very distinct look. He had this extraordinary walrus moustache, twinkling eyes, great fun… Lovely, lovely man.”

Discussing how events in Ukraine could play out, he noted the possibility of partition – just like in Ireland in the 1920s.

“What happened in Ireland, of course, after partition was that there were anti-treaty forces and pro-treaty forces and it led to a civil war,” he said.

“That is not impossible in Ukraine.”