Two missing Britons killed in Ukraine while evacuating citizens from Soledar

Two Britons missing in Ukraine were killed while trying to carry out a humanitarian evacuation in the east of the country, the Foreign Office confirmed.

Chris Parry, 28, and his colleague Andrew Bagshaw, 48 – who held dual UK and New Zealand citizenship – had been attempting an evacuation from Soledar, Parry’s family said in a statement released via the department.

The men had been working as volunteers, helping people escape the frontline of the war started by Russia in February 2022.

The statement read: “It is with great sadness we have to announce that our beloved Chrissy has been killed along with his colleague Andrew Bagshaw whilst attempting a humanitarian evacuation from Soledar, eastern Ukraine.

“His selfless determination in helping the old, young and disadvantaged there has made us and his larger family extremely proud. We never imagined we would be saying goodbye to Chris when he had such a full life ahead of him. He was a caring son, fantastic brother, a best friend to so many and a loving partner to Olga.

“He found himself drawn to Ukraine in March in its darkest hour at the start of the Russian invasion and helped those most in need, saving over 400 lives plus many abandoned animals. It is impossible to put into words how much he will be missed but he will forever be in our hearts. We feel so privileged that he chose our family to be part of.”

Parry, reportedly a running coach from Cheltenham, recently told Sky News that he had been driving to towns and villages on the frontline to evacuate local residents.

He said: “I take each day as it comes. Sometimes when you see some pretty terrible things it does stay with you. But you’ve got a job. You’re in a position of care and as soon as you pick these people up you’ve got to get out and get away from the artillery, which is constantly going off around us.

“When you get back and think, ‘that was kind of close, that was only 100 metres away from us’, that’s when you think maybe my luck might run out, but it’s worth it to save these people.”

Bagshaw went to Ukraine from New Zealand, and had been delivering aid and evacuating citizens, according to a statement provided to the Guardian by the group Kiwi Aid and Refugee Evacuation.

In an earlier statement, Andrew’s parents, Philip and Dame Susan Bagshaw, who founded the Canterbury Charity hospital, confirmed their son was missing and said he was “a very intelligent, independently minded person”.

In August, Bagshaw, a genetics researcher, told the New Zealand news outlet Stuff he had been evacuating mostly elderly people out of the eastern Ukrainian town of Soledar for about a month.

Earlier in January the head of Russia’s Wagner mercenary group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, claimed his forces had found the body of one of the pair. In a statement published on his Telegram channel, Prigozhin did not mention the name of the dead man but said documents belonging to both Britons had been found on his body.

The statement was posted alongside a photo that appeared to show passports bearing the names of Andrew Bagshaw and Christopher Parry.

The pair were last known to have been travelling from Kramatorsk to Soledar, in east Ukraine, on 6 January. The salt mining town has endured heavy fighting as part of Moscow’s months-long offensive to capture Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region.

Published by anthonyhayble

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