A former British soldier has been shot and killed after travelling to Ukraine, his family has announced. Jordan Gatley was described as a “hero” who will “forever be in our hearts”. by his father in a post on social media.
Dean Gatley said his son had left the British Army in March “to continue his career as a soldier in other areas”. He went to Ukraine following its invasion by Russia to help with the war effort “after careful consideration”, his father said.
Mr Gatley said his son had been shot and killed in the city of Severodonetsk, in eastern Ukraine. The family received the “devastating” news of his death on Friday, he said.
The post on Facebook read: “After careful consideration, he went to the Ukraine to help. 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 peoples lives, not only soldiering, but also by training the Ukrainian forces.
“Jordan and his team were so proud of the work they were doing and he often told me that the missions they were going on were dangerous, but necessary. He loved his job and we are so proud of him. He truly was a hero and will forever be in our hearts.”
In April, tributes were paid to Scott Sibley, a British military veteran reportedly killed in Ukraine while fighting against Russian forces. At that time the Foreign Office confirmed a British national had died in Ukraine. The Foreign Office has been contacted for comment following reports of the latest death.
It comes after two British men were handed the death penalty for fighting Russian forces in Ukraine earlier this week. Boris Johnson has ordered ministers to do “everything in their power” to secure the release of Shaun Pinner and Aiden Aslin, after the pair were condemned to death in what the UK Government has described as a “sham” sentencing.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss discussed efforts to secure their release with her Ukrainian counterpart on Friday, after the judgment by a Russian proxy court. A statement issued on Saturday by the Foreign Office on behalf of the family of Mr Pinner, 48, said they are “devastated and saddened at the outcome of the illegal show trial”.
Brandon Lewis said the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary are “fully engaged” in trying to help the pair. Asked if there is anything Britain can actually do, the Northern Ireland Secretary told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday: “It’s difficult to go into the details of any particular case. And, obviously, particularly without the consent of the individuals. But the Foreign Secretary and the Prime Minister, I know, are fully engaged on this, working with the Ukrainians because they were serving Ukrainian armed forces, and therefore they are protected by the Geneva Convention, something that all governments around the world have respected for decades now.
“It’s something that Russia should respect as well. As I say, we’ve seen (Vladimir) Putin act in a pretty abhorrent and illegal way consistently over the last few months. We’ve got to keep that pressure on and do everything we can to support not just these families, but actually everybody who’s fighting for democracy in Ukraine.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said no-one knows how long the war in his country will last but his forces are defying expectations by preventing Russian troops from overrunning eastern Ukraine. In his daily video address on Sunday, Mr Zelensky said he is proud of the Ukrainian defenders managing to hold back the Russian advance in the Donbas region, which borders Russia and where Moscow-backed separatists have controlled much of the territory for eight years.
“Remember how in Russia, in the beginning of May, they hoped to seize all of the Donbas?” the president said. “It’s already the 108th day of the war, already June. Donbas is holding on.” After failing to capture the capital Kyiv early in the war, Moscow focused on seizing the parts of the largely Russian-speaking Donbas still in Ukrainian hands, as well as the country’s southern coast.