Ukraine war: Bodies of British volunteers killed in Donetsk region returned in prisoner swap with Russia

The bodies of two British volunteers have been returned following a prisoner swap with Russia, Ukraine has announced.

Chris Parry, 28, and Andrew Bagshaw, 48, were killed attempting a “humanitarian evacuation” in Ukraine.

The pair went missing last month after travelling to the under-siege town of Soledar, in the east of the country, to volunteer with aid efforts.

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Andriy Yermak, head of the Ukrainian president’s office, said the bodies were handed over by the Russians in a prisoner-of-war exchange on Saturday.

He tweeted: “Another big POWs swap. We managed to get back 116 of our people.

“Those are the defenders of Mariupol, Kherson partisans, snipers from Bakhmut vicinities, and other heroes of ours.

“We managed to take the bodies of the foreign volunteers who’d perished, Christopher Matthew Perry and Andrew Tobias Matthew, as well as the body of Evgen Kulyk, a Ukrainian who’d served with the French Foreign Legion and volunteered to join the Ukrainian forces.”

Pic: Chris Parry
Chris Parry travelled to help the Ukrainian war effort

‘Our son saved many lives’

The men had attempted to rescue an elderly woman in Soledar in the eastern Donetsk region during intense military action when their car was struck by an artillery shell, according to a statement from Mr Bagshaw’s parents.

Their son, a scientific researcher in genetics, “selflessly took many personal risks and saved many lives”.

Dame Sue and Professor Phil Bagshaw said “due to official legal processes in Ukraine, it will be some time before Andrew’s remains are returned to New Zealand”, where he lived.

“Andrew selflessly took many personal risks and saved many lives; we love him and are very proud indeed of what he did,” said their statement.

They added: “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.”

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Andrew Bagshaw’s father on son’s death

‘Selfless determination’

Mr Parry’s family described their son as having “selfless determination in helping the old, young and disadvantaged” in a statement through the Foreign Office last month.

“We never imagined we would be saying goodbye to Chris when he had such a full life ahead of him,” they said.

“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.”

Mr Parry, a Cornish running coach from Cheltenham, previously spoke of evacuating people from the front line.

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