German firefighter swaps Thai beach for Kharkiv blazes

STORY: Nils Thal from Nuremberg felt guilty about lying on a beach in Asia while the war was going on in Ukraine. He says he tried to volunteer to help refugees in neighboring European countries but was frustrated at the amount of bureaucracy involved.

So he volunteered to help Ukrainian firefighters as they tackle burning buildings and search for survivors under the rubble caused by Russia's war.

"I felt kind of guilty lying in Thailand on the beach while something like this is going on. And this is why I decided to come here to help directly," Thal told Reuters.

Thal, who is now on a sabbatical from his job back home, said his father had initially tried to persuade him not to go to the war zone.

Now he says that once his sabbatical is over he will try to get unpaid leave in order to return to Ukraine.

"If you want to live in a civilized world, we have to do something, that’s it. And I am kind of proud to stay on the right side of the history here," he said.

Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city, has come under heavy attack since the Russian invasion began on Feb. 24.