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Bodies of British volunteers killed in Ukraine recovered from Russian forces

The bodies of British volunteers killed in Ukraine have been recovered in a prisoner swap with Russian forces, a top Ukrainian official has said.

Andriy Yermak, the head of the Office of the Ukrainian President, said that the bodies of Christopher Perry, 28, and Andrew Bagshaw, 48, had been handed over by the Russians as part of a prisoner of war exchange on Saturday.

Mr Yermak 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.”

The pair went missing last month while heading to the town of Soledar in the eastern Donetsk region of the country, where heavy fighting was reported.

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According to a statement from the parents of Mr Bagshaw released last month, the pair were attempting to rescue an elderly woman in an area of intense military action when their car was hit by an artillery shell.

Mr Parry’s family paid tribute to their son in a statement released through the Foreign Office last month.

The statement from Rob, Christine and Katy Parry said: “It is with great sadness we have to announce that our beloved Chrissy has been killed along with his colleague Andrew Bagshaw whilst attempting a humanitarian evacuation from Soledar, eastern Ukraine.

“His selfless determination in helping the old, young and disadvantaged there has made us and his larger family extremely proud.

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

“He was a caring son, fantastic brother, a best friend to so many and a loving partner to Olga.

“Chris was a confident, outward looking and adventurous young man who was loyal to everyone he knew.

“He lived and worked away as a software engineer but Cornwall was always his home. He loved rock climbing, cycling, running and skydiving and wanted to travel the world.

“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.

“It is impossible to put into words how much he will be missed but he will forever be in our hearts.

“We feel so privileged that he chose our family to be part of.”

Andrew Bagshaw and Christopher Parry death
Undated family handout issued by Lorelei Mason of Andrew Bagshaw, who along with Christopher Parry, was killed while attempting a “humanitarian evacuation” in Ukraine, family members have said. Issue date: Tuesday January 24, 2023.

Mr Parry, who was reportedly born in Truro, Cornwall, but later moved to Cheltenham, had previously spoken of evacuating people from the front line.

Mr Bagshaw’s family said their son “selflessly took many personal risks and saved many lives”.

Dame Sue and professor Phil Bagshaw, said: “He and a colleague, Chris Parry, were attempting to rescue an elderly woman from Soledar, in an area of intense military action, when their car was hit by an artillery shell.

“The Ukrainian authorities, and government officials in New Zealand and London have been working hard to learn more details but little further is known about the circumstances of his death.

“Due to official legal processes in Ukraine it will be some time before Andrew’s remains are returned to New Zealand.

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

“Andrew, age 47, was single, with a brother, two sisters and seven nephews and nieces.

“He was a scientific researcher in genetics but had been working as a volunteer aid worker in Ukraine since last April.

“We intend that his death shall not be in vain. We are amongst many parents who grieve the deaths of their sons and daughters.

“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.”