Two British nationals have been killed while attempting a ‘humanitarian evacuation’ in Ukraine, family members confirmed today.
Andrew Bagshaw, 48, and Christopher Parry, 28, disappeared earlier this month on their way to the town of Soledar in the eastern Donetsk region where heavy fighting was reported.
Today, Mr Parry’s family confirmed the men had been killed, in a statement released by the Foreign Office.
The statement from Mr Parry’s family said: “It is with great sadness that we have to report that our beloved Chrissy was killed along with her colleague Andrew Bagshaw while attempting a humanitarian evacuation from Soledar, in eastern Ukraine.
Smoke rises after shelling in Soledar, the site of heavy fighting with Russian forces in the Donetsk region, Ukraine, Sunday January 8, 2023
“His selfless determination to help the elderly, young and disadvantaged has made us and his large family extremely proud. We never imagined saying goodbye to Chris when he had such a full life ahead of him. He was a caring son, a fantastic brother, a best friend to so many, and a loving partner to Olga.
“Chris was a confident, outgoing and adventurous young man, loyal to everyone he knew. He lived and worked as a software engineer, but Cornwall has always been his home. He loved rock climbing, biking, running and skydiving and wanted to travel the world.
“He found himself drawn to Ukraine in March, at the darkest hour of the start of the Russian invasion, and helped those most in need, saving over 400 lives and many abandoned animals.
“It’s impossible to say how much he will be missed, but he will forever be in our hearts.
“We feel so privileged that he chose to be part of our family.”
Christopher Parry is pictured with a girl whose family he helped evacuate from the front lines
Parry pictured with a Ukrainian woman he helped evacuate from her town
The National Police of Ukraine wrote in a post on social media: “On January 7, at around 5:15 p.m., the duty unit of the Bakhmut district police department received a report about the disappearance of two volunteers – citizens Britons aged 28 and 48. .
“It is known that the day before, January 6, at eight o’clock in the morning, Andrew Bagshaw and Christopher Parry left Kramatorsk for Soledar, but contact with them was lost.
Parry, who was born in Cornwall but later moved to Cheltenham, was a racing coach before buying a one-way ticket to Ukraine in March.
He felt compelled to help Ukraine defend its territory against Russia and intended to enlist in the Ukrainian Legion of Foreign Fighters, but said he was told his lack of combat experience would only make him a “hinder” and that he instead channeled his efforts into evacuations.
Speaking to Sky News in December, Parry recounted the horrific scenes he witnessed first-hand at Bakhmut and the stress of operating under the constant threat of serious injury or death.
“I went to a military command unit and spoke to a number of soldiers who described Bakhmut as the ‘worst place they’ve ever been’. They said ‘this is not war, this is hell’.
“Missiles were landing on the building next door, the roof was shaking. I asked the soldiers, how far is it to get to the location of the next evacuee, and they said it was 50/50 that you were going to get shot by a tank.
“I think people who try to evacuate now are either shot or forced to become Russians for the rest of their lives.”
“That’s why I was willing to take the risk, because I know these people will be executed in the street or deported.”
Chris Parry, 28, from Cornwall, was killed while attempting a humanitarian evacuation from eastern Ukraine (pictured with a young boy)
An NGO director working with Andrew Bagshaw (pictured) said: ‘We haven’t given up hope, you know there are a number of people in Ukraine who are actively looking for him, including members of the armed forces Ukrainians who were very helpful in trying to identify and locate Andrew’
Ukrainian servicemen administer first aid to a wounded soldier in a shelter in Soledar, the site of heavy fighting with Russian forces in Donetsk region, Ukraine, Sunday, January 8, 2023
A resident of Soledar sits on an evacuation train to Dnipro, as the Russian attack on Ukraine continues, in Pokrovsk, Ukraine January 8, 2023
Andrew Bagshaw is pictured preparing to head to the front lines
Bagshaw, meanwhile, was born in the UK but lived in Christchurch, New Zealand.
His parents, Philip and Susan Bagshaw, are prominent figures in Christchurch where they founded the Canterbury Charity Hospital and made a significant contribution to mental health services for young people.
Their son bought a one-way ticket to Ukraine in March and was operating in coordination with the New Zealand NGO Kiwi Aid and Refugee Evacuation (KARE).
Philip and Sue described their son as an ‘intelligent, independent-minded person’, while KARE manager Tenby Powell told New Zealand outlet RNZ the family were ‘very upset’ by his disappearance.