Friends mourn New Zealander killed helping civilians in Ukraine

Friends mourn New Zealander killed helping civilians in Ukraine

Bagshaw, 48, a dual New Zealand-British citizen, and British volunteer Christopher Parry, 28, went missing this month while on their way to the town of Soledar, in the eastern Donetsk region, where heavy fighting took place has.

Volunteers spoke about their memories of Bagshaw and read tributes from his family.

Kiwi aid worker Andrew Bagshaw in Ukraine. (Supply)

Nikolletta Stoyanova, a friend in Ukraine, shared memories of his bravery.

“Even if no one wanted to go to Soledar, they could do it. Because if he understood that someone needed help, they should do this help for these people,” Stoyanova spoke in English.

Bagshaw’s father, Phil, told reporters in New Zealand that his son wanted to do something to help.

“He was a very intelligent man, and a very independent thinker,” he said.

“And he thought long and hard about the situation in Ukraine, and he believed it was immoral. He felt the only thing he could do in a constructive way was to go there and help people.”

Ukrainian police said on January 9 that they had lost contact with Bagshaw and Parry after the pair headed for Soledar.

Their bodies were later recovered.

Bagshaw was a “joy to be around”, says family friend Barry Taylor. (Supply)

A Ukrainian official reported on Wednesday that the defending forces had made an organized retreat from the salt mining town.

In a January 24 statement, Parry’s family said he was “drawn to Ukraine in March in his darkest hour.”

They said he “helped the people most in need and saved more than 400 lives plus many abandoned animals.”

Friends said the men’s bodies would be handed over to relatives in the UK.

In southern Ukraine, Russian forces heavily shelled the city of Kherson on Sunday, killing three people and wounding six others, the regional administration said.

The shelling is said to have damaged a hospital, school, bus station, post office, bank and residential buildings.

Among those reported injured were two women who were in the hospital at the time: a nurse and a cafeteria worker.

Russian forces withdrew across the Dnieper River from Kherson in November, but still held much of the province of the same name.

This undated photo provided by the Bagshaw family shows Andrew Bagshaw. Bagshaw, 47, a dual New Zealand and British citizen, was killed along with British colleague Chris Parry while trying to rescue an elderly woman from the town of Soledar, Ukraine, when their car was hit by an artillery shell is, say Bagshaw’s parents. (AP)

The Russian Foreign Ministry on Sunday accused Ukraine and its Western allies of war crimes in connection with the shelling of two hospitals in parts of Ukraine controlled by Russia.

Russian officials said 14 people were killed Saturday when a hospital in the eastern Luhansk province settlement of Novoaidar was hit.

They said shells also fell on the grounds of a hospital in Nova Kakhovka, a Russian-occupied city in Kherson province where a strategically important bridge over the lower reaches of the Dnieper is located.

“The deliberate shelling of active civilian medical facilities and the targeted killing of civilians are serious war crimes of the Kyiv regime and its Western masters,” the foreign ministry said.

“The lack of response of the United States and other NATO countries to this, another monstrous trampling of international humanitarian law by Kiev, once again confirms their direct involvement in the conflict and involvement in the crimes being committed.”

People light candles to commemorate British volunteers Chris Parry and Andrew Bagshaw, who died in Ukraine’s war-torn east, during a memorial service in a dining hall near St. Sophia Cathedral in Kiev, Ukraine. (AP)

Russian forces have shelled hundreds of hospitals and other medical facilities in Ukraine since the war began, reducing more than 100 of them to rubble, according to Ukraine’s health ministry.

Russian state TV broadcast footage of what it said was the damaged hospital in Novoaidar.

Rockets are said to have hit the pediatric wing of the two-story building.

“There are no military factories here. There are no military vehicles, no tanks. Who did you shoot at?” Olga Ryasnaya said in an interview on Russian TV, which identified her as a pediatric nurse.

Luhansk province, where Novoaidar is located, is almost entirely under the control of Russian forces or Russian-backed separatists. Russian and separatist officials claimed the hospital was deliberately targeted.

Sad about family kitchen destroyed by Russian missile attack

The movements of journalists are restricted in areas of Ukraine under Russian control.

The Institute for the Study of War, a Washington-based think tank, said Ukrainian forces are likely to be stepping up attacks on Russian positions deep inside Luhansk province, closer to the Russian border, in an effort “to disrupting logistics and ground communication lines.”

It said the strikes could be part of preparations for a future counter-offensive.

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