An eighth British national has died in Ukraine since the start of Russia’s invasion on Feb. 24, 2022. The identity of the individual is not yet known, but the UK Foreign Office has informed their family. A spokesperson for the Foreign Office said: “We are supporting the family of a British national who died in Ukraine, and are in contact with the local authorities.”
The death is believed to be the eighth British national to have died in Ukraine since the war began. British veterans and citizens without combat experience have travelled to Ukraine to join the resistance against the Russian invasion. Additionally, some British citizens are reportedly working as humanitarian aid workers and medics in the war zone.
On Jan. 6, 2023, Andrew Bagshaw, 47, and Christopher Parry, 28, went missing while heading to the town of Soledar in the eastern Donetsk region of the country, where heavy fighting was reported. A few days later, the Russian military contractor Wagner Group said that one of the two Britons had been found dead. On Jan. 24, Parry’s family confirmed that both men had been killed, in a statement released through the UK Foreign Office. According to a statement from the parents of Bagshaw, the pair were attempting to rescue an elderly woman in an area of intense military action when their car was hit by an artillery shell.
On Nov. 7, 2022, British veteran Simon Lingard was killed while fighting alongside Ukrainian forces to defend the city of Bakhmut from Russian attacks. In September, five British nationals held by Russian-backed forces in Ukraine were released as part of a prisoner swap and returned to the UK. Four of those—Aiden Aslin, John Harding, Andrew Hill, and Shaun Pinner—had been captured while fighting for the Ukrainian armed forces. The other—Dylan Healy—had been volunteering in Ukraine as an aid worker. Another British aid worker—Paul Urey—reportedly died in detention in July after being captured by pro-Russian separatists. The Ukrainian government said in early September that Urey’s body, which had been returned, had “signs of possible unspeakable torture.” On Aug. 24, British national Craig Mackintosh was reportedly killed while volunteering as a medic in Ukraine. In June, ex-British soldier Jordan Gatley, who had left the British Army in March and travelled to Ukraine, was shot dead in the city of Severodonetsk in eastern Ukraine. In April, British veteran Scott Sibley was reportedly killed in Ukraine while fighting against Russian forces.
Meanwhile, at least five other Americans are known to have died fighting in Ukraine, according to State Department statements and reports from individual families. The latest casualty was former U.S. Navy SEAL Daniel W. Swift, who was killed on Jan. 18 in Ukraine, according to the U.S. Navy.
The latest death comes after British military chiefs declared Russian President Vladimir Putin’s troops have been commanded to advance in “most sectors” but are struggling to achieve a major breakthrough on the Ukrainian front line. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said on Tuesday that the Wagner Group mercenaries have likely made “further small gains” around the northern outskirts of the heavily-contested town of Bakhmut. But the Ukrainian defence is continuing and the Russian advance to the south “has likely made little progress.” Further north, in Kreminna-Svatove, the MoD said the Russians are making “continuous offensive efforts” but on “too small a scale to achieve a significant breakthrough.” Defence Secretary Ben Wallace told the BBC on Wednesday that Russian troops are suffering “almost First World War levels of attrition and with success rates of a matter of metres” in Ukraine. Wallace said: “Helping Ukraine defeat Russia in Ukraine actually adds to our own security at home and as the Ukrainians themselves say: ‘We are fighting not just for our freedom, but for your freedom in Europe.’”
PA Media contributed to this report.