British soldier-turned-pop star James Blunt has revealed he potentially averted starting World War III after refusing to complete orders to destroy Russian troops.
Blunt was a cavalry officer until 2002 and was part of the NATO convoy in Kosovo during the Balkans conflict.
The singer was one of the first soldiers at the scene when the Russians seized control of a key airfield - and he was ordered to "destroy" 200 fighters.
But he refused the order, and was backed by his boss General Mike Jackson, who believed the attack would have caused a new world war.
Blunt tells the BBC, "I was given the direct command to overpower the 200 or so Russians who were there. I was the lead officer with my troop of men behind us... The direct command that came in from General Wesley Clark was to overpower them. Various words were used that seemed unusual to us. Words such as 'destroy' came down the radio.
"Fortunately, up on the radio came General Mike Jackson, whose exact words at the time were, 'I'm not going to have my soldiers be responsible for starting World War 3', and told us why don't we sugar off down the road, you know, encircle the airfield instead.
"And after a couple of days the Russians there said 'Hang on, we have no food and no water. Can we share the airfield with you?'"