Two British nationals were killed while attempting a “humanitarian evacuation” from the Ukrainian town of Soledar, a family statement has said.
Chris Parry, 28, and Andrew Bagshaw, 47, were reported missing on 7 January amid heavy fighting between Ukrainian and Russian forces.
A statement issued by Mr Bagshaw’s family said the pair’s car was hit by an artillery shell while they were attempting to rescue an elderly woman.
Image: Chris Parry
Image: Andrew Bagshaw A statement issued on behalf of Mr Parry’s family said: “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.”
Mr Bagshaw, a resident of New Zealand, was in Ukraine to assist in delivering humanitarian aid.
“Andrew selflessly took many personal risks and saved many lives; we love him and are very proud indeed of what he did,” his family said in a statement.
“Andrew, age 47, was single, with a brother, two sisters and seven nephews and nieces. He was a scientific researcher in Genetics but had been working as a volunteer aid worker in Ukraine since last April.
“We intend that his death shall not be in vain. We are amongst many parents who grieve the deaths of their sons and daughters. We urge the civilised countries of the world to stop this immoral war and to help the Ukrainians to rid their homeland of an aggressor.”
Earlier this month Russia’s Wagner Group said its forces had found the body of one of the workers.
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Mr Parry spoke to Sky News about his volunteer work evacuating residents in November 2022 Parry spoke of terrifying conditions under Russian bombardment
Mr Parry previously spoke to Sky News about his time evacuating people near the front line, often in terrifying conditions as Russian artillery bombarded Ukrainian positions.
Originally from Cornwall, he had been working as a running coach in Cheltenham when Russia invaded on 24 February last year.
He told Sky News he knew he had to go and help.
His daring actions on the frontline saw him evacuate residents from the besieged city of Severodonetsk before it fell in June and later operating east of Lyman.
Speaking three days before he went missing, Mr Parry said he had to choose between going on foot and being slow, but less visible, or going by car and being fast, but risk being spotted by drones on his way into Bakhmut to provide aid.
Speaking to journalist Arnaud De Decker he described the decision as a “toss-up” saying: “You can either go on foot, which is what some volunteers do, but that means you’re spending a lot more time there, and I feel more vulnerable because you are just walking around completely naked.
“By car, you are more of a target, but you can fly to your destination in two minutes and be back in two minutes.
“Hopefully you can just do it quick enough so that the drones don’t spot you and then you can just park it in a building and hide.
“But, yeah, a lot of volunteers won’t go any more, but there are people there who want to get out, so I’m willing to go.”