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James Blunt recalls Kosovo encounter

Nov. 14, 2010 at 12:16 PM   |   Comments

LONDON, Nov. 14 (UPI) -- Singer James Blunt recalled that while he was in the British army in Kosovo, he once refused an apparent order to fire at a Russian unit.

In a BBC interview aired Sunday, Blunt said he was backed up in his refusal by Gen. Mike Jackson, who said did not want British troops "responsible for starting World War III."

Blunt was an officer in a cavalry unit that was at the lead of a NATO column moving on the Pristina airport in 1999. But a contingent of Russian troops got there first.

"I was given the direct command to overpower the 200 or so Russians who were there," Blunt said.

Blunt, who went on to a successful pop music career as a civilian, said Jackson had his force encircle the airfield instead. A few days later, he said, the Russians agreed to share access to the facility.

Blunt admitted he likely would not have attacked the Russians even if Jackson had not backed him up. "There are things that you do along the way that you know are right, and those that you absolutely feel are wrong, that I think it's morally important to stand up against," he said. "That sense of moral judgment is drilled into us as soldiers in the British army."

© 2010 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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