Two British volunteers who had traveled to Ukraine to assist in humanitarian evacuations were confirmed dead last night, weeks after disappearing close to the front lines.
Christopher Parry, 28, and Andrew Bagshaw, 48, are said to have left the town of Kramatorsk and entered Soledar, a small salt mining town near Bakhmut, which was attacked by Russian troops.
They were reported missing on January 7 and have not been heard from since.
One of their bodies was found by soldiers of Russia’s Wagner mercenary group, who shared photos that appeared to have passports belonging to both of them.
On Tuesday, a statement on behalf of Mr Parry’s family confirmed that he had died.
“It is with great sadness that we have to announce that our beloved Chrissy was killed along with his colleague Andrew Bagshaw during an attempted humanitarian evacuation from Soledar, eastern Ukraine,” the statement said.
“His selfless determination to help the elderly, young and underprivileged there has made us and his extended family immensely proud.
“We never thought we would say goodbye to Chris as he had such a full life ahead of him. He was a caring son, wonderful brother, best friend to so many and a loving partner to Olga,” the family said. to Parry’s Ukrainian girlfriend.
“He was drawn to Ukraine in March in the darkest hour of the beginning of the Russian invasion and helped those most in need, saving over 400 lives plus many abandoned animals.
Parry, a running coach from Truro who arrived in the war-torn country on March 5 after becoming “obsessed” with helping “good against evil,” originally intended to fight on the front lines despite promising his parents that he would stay away. Danger.
But after being told he would be “a bigger hindrance” with no military experience, Parry began helping evacuate civilians from the most dangerous parts of the country.
Three days before Parry disappeared, he said he was “willing to go” where others wouldn’t go to rescue desperate civilians.
Describing his role in Ukraine, he said: “As you get closer to the front, you just talk to the Ukrainian soldiers and say, ‘How far until it gets a little too bad?'”
“They’ll say ‘Oh, 200 yards’ and then you’ll go ‘Okay, I’ll leave the car here and I’ll walk for the rest’.”
He added: “A lot of volunteers aren’t going anymore, but there are people who want to get out, so I’m willing to go.”
In a separate statement on Tuesday, Bagshaw’s family also confirmed that their son had passed away.
“Andrew selflessly took many personal risks and saved many lives; we love him and are very proud of what he has done,” a statement read.
“We intend that his death will not be in vain. We are among the many parents mourning the death of their sons and daughters.
“We urge the civilized countries of the world to stop this immoral war and help the Ukrainians rid their homeland of an aggressor.”
Bagshaw was born in Great Britain but emigrated to New Zealand.