Eddie Mair 4pm - 7pm
James Blunt reveals how he prevented World War III
14 December 2020, 10:59
The musician revealed to how he narrowly avoided a massive diplomatic incident when stationed in Kosovo.
Musician James Blunt was speaking to Ruth Davidson on An Inconvenient Ruth when the heart-stopping anecdote came to light.
"You kind of stopped quite a big diplomatic incident," Ruth prodded, recounting how Mr Blunt dodged being blamed for "World War Three at Pristina Airport."
The You're Beautiful singer branded the memory "probably the most amazing day" of his life.
Mr Blunt explained for Ruth that he was instructed during the Kosovo War to push up through Macedonia, into Kosovo with 30,000 allied troops. He, leading the troops was given the task of taking Pristina Airport before Russian forces got there.
The crooner told Ruth that the task, before even reaching the Kosovar capital was nerve wracking: "If you take a right turn when you should be taking a left, it's quite hard to tell 30,000 people to turn around."
"There was real pressure to get there as fast as we possibly could, to beat the Russians" Mr Blunt asserted.
"They were trying to take over the airport as well so we were told to push on as fast as we possibly could, ignore the dangers of the minefields and boobytrap tunnels.
"The world press were all watching on," he noted, adding to the intensity of the situation.
He told Ruth that upon arrival in Pristina, he discovered that he had been beaten to the airport by a contingent of Russian troops.
Mr Blunt confessed that once given instructions by his commanding officer to "overrun and overpower the Russians," he knew he must act against the orders.
"I was questioning those instructions," he said.
Luckily, Mr Blunt told Ruth that a second officer who was in direct command over him and his troops told the other officer he would not accept his soldiers being responsible for starting World War Three," and instead instructed the troops to surround the airport and wait the Russians out.
"After two days the Russians asked if they could share food and water with us – which they didn't have – and we said of course we can, if you share the airport."
Ruth was kocked for six by the story, telling Mr Blunt that it was nothing more than a "ballsy move." "That's no small thing to stand your ground."
"It was very obvious that the consequences were far bigger than the entire mission," James concluded.