Former British soldier killed fighting Russian forces in Ukraine

A former British soldier has died fighting Russian forces in the Ukrainian city of Severodonetsk, his family have said.

Jordan Gatley left the British army in March “to continue his career as a soldier in other areas” and had been helping Ukrainian troops defend their country against Russia, his father Dean wrote in a statement posted on Facebook on Saturday.

“Yesterday [10/06/22] we received the devastating news that our son, Jordan, has been shot and killed in the city of Severodonetsk, Oekraïne … He loved his job and we are so proud of him. He truly was a hero and will forever be in our hearts.” the statement said.

Gatley died in the battle for the key strategic city in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region, where fighting has been intense in recent days.

He is thought to be the second Briton to have been killed during the war in Ukraine. Tributes were paid in April to Scott Sibley, a British military veteran believed to have died fighting Russian troops.

The Gatley family statement said: “We have had several messages from his team out there telling us of his wealth of knowledge, his skills as a soldier and his love of his job.

“His team say they all loved him, as did we, and he made a massive difference to many people’s lives, not only soldiering, but also by training the Ukrainian forces.”

A Foreign Office spokesperson said: “We are supporting the family of a British man who has died in Ukraine.”

Kyiv has acknowledged over the last week that it is taking heavy losses in Russia’s assault in the east.

Thousands of foreigners are believed to have entered Ukraine after the country’s president Volodymyr Zelenskiy announced the establishment of an international legion of volunteers from abroad in the early days of Russia’s invasion. A significant number are thought to be UK citizens, despite the British armed forces urging Britons not to go to the country.

Two British men and a Moroccan national captured while fighting with the Ukrainian army in Mariupol were sentenced to death by pro-Russia officials in what was described as a “disgusting Soviet-era show trial”.

Russian state media has portrayed them as mercenaries, and the court convicted them of being as much despite evidence that all three men were serving in the Ukrainian marines and so should be protected by the Geneva conventions on prisoners of war.

Denis Pushilin, the head of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic where the three foreigners were tried, said on Sunday that no mercy should be shown. The British foreign secretary, Liz Truss, called the judgment a “sham” with “absolutely no legitimacy.”

In a separate case, Russia said the former Royal Marine Ben Grant had helped to kill a Chechen brigade commander in Ukraine after footage emerged of the British national fighting in the country.

Grant, who has not been captured, is the son of the Conservative MP Helen Grant. He previously told British media that he was part of a unit of 15 British and US volunteers who had been preparing an assault on Russian targets in the Kharkiv area.

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