Flew out on a private jet
Abramovich rescues five Britons from Russian custody
One day in brutal captivity, the next in a luxurious private jet: Five Britons who fought alongside the Ukrainians were freed. Multi-billionaire Roman Abramovich was involved in the rescue operation.
Multi-billionaire Roman Abramovich.
“He is a legend.” This is how the British soldier John Harding (59) describes the oligarch and former Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich (55). The reason: the oligarch was instrumental in his liberation from Russian captivity. Abramovich brought him and four other British soldiers from Russia in his private jet.
The five Britons fought alongside Ukrainian troops and were captured by Vladimir Putin’s (69) army. Harding was forced to surrender in the battle for the Azovstal Steel Plant in Mariupol. The Brit told The Sun that he had to spend three days on a bus after his capture. There he fed himself only on pastries and dirty water.
Tortured by Putin’s tormentors
Harding has served time in three prisons since May. He tells of brutal torture. He was regularly beaten up by the guards. The constant torture has left its mark: wounds, broken ribs and blood in the urine. At some point, Harding says, he wished he could just be killed instead of having to go through such torture.
According to Harding, the guards also tried to psychologically abuse the British prisoners. For example, they are said to have told them with a laugh that the Queen had died: “They took great satisfaction in telling us about the Queen’s death. We just said, ‘Long live the king.'”
From jail to the luxury jet
On Tuesday it was time for Harding and four other British prisoners: the day of redemption came. They were allowed to pack up and were released at a Russian airport after a 20-hour drive. There they were received by Saudi Arabian officials.
According to «The Sun», Kremlin chief Putin and Mohammed bin Salman (37), the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, have concluded a deal for the liberation of the British. In return, high-ranking Russian officers are said to have been freed. They were captured in the recent Ukrainian counter-offensive.
Multi-billionaire Roman Abramovich played a key role in these negotiations. The five Brits were then taken to Saudi Arabia in a luxurious private jet. “We were treated like royalty,” Harding said.
Casual chat with the oligarch
The five Britons didn’t realize at first that their host was Abramovich, says Harding. One of his comrades went to Abramovich and said he looked like the ex-Chelsea owner. “That’s because it’s me, sir,” Abramovich said, according to Harding. The group could hardly believe it.
After months of brutal torture, they sat at the table with Abramovich, ate steaks and tiramisu and chatted about football. Harding told The Sun: “We love him more than anything and are incredibly grateful for his efforts.” (bab)