Man 'prepared' to die as he returns to Ukraine to deliver vital medical training
Watch Ben McGrail's report
A Somerset man has said he's prepared to put his life on the line as he gets set to return to Ukraine for a third time.
Steve Brooks, who lives in Shepton Mallet, is travelling to the front line to provide medical training to Ukrainian troops alongside two colleagues. The three month mission will see them head to some of the most dangerous parts of the country.
Alongside Americans David Funk and Dominic Clay, Steve will be delivering specialist emergency medical skills to people as the war in the country continues.
He says he knows it is going to be a big challenge, saying: "There's no mystery this time. I know what I'm going to get - it's going to be a lot of sleepless nights. It's extremely exhausting. When I came back last time, I was physically broken.
"I need to go," he continued. "I need to support the Ukrainian people and the volunteer special forces unit that I work with in Mykolaiv. But I'd much rather stay home with my home comforts, my wife, my dog, my life. But I can't. My conscience won't let me do that."
Steve's colleague, David, said their work has a multiplier effect, saying: "We train ten people - those ten people can go out and help another ten people each. It's 100 people who at least have some understanding of what they need to do if they get shot or their buddy gets shot or wounded."
The team will face huge risks in the country. One incident in autumn 2022 saw their vehicle hit the tail of a hidden mortar, which was embedded in the road. David was driving their car at around 100mph at the time to evade a Russian tank preparing to fire at them. Thankfully he managed to bring the car safely to a stop and they were rescued unharmed.
Steve knows they will face more danger, saying: "It's something I have to ask myself: Am I prepared to die for this cause? I believe that freedom is free and I believe that Ukraine is the front line of freedom right now. As our grandparents were willing to put themselves forward during World War II so that we all have the freedoms we have today I'm willing to put myself forward to protect the freedoms that our kids will have tomorrow."
Steve and his team have launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for the vital work they do. Work they will continue after setting off from Somerset to Ukraine by car on 1st April.