British ex-soldier ‘killed fighting against Russia in eastern Ukraine’

The family of former soldier Jordan Gatley say he will ‘forever be in our hearts’

<p>Jordan Gatley is reported to have been killed in the city of Sievierodonetsk</p>

Jordan Gatley is reported to have been killed in the city of Sievierodonetsk

A former British soldier has been killed fighting in eastern Ukraine, his family have said.

Jordan Gatley, described as “truly a hero”, was shot dead in Sievierodonetsk, a key city in Russia’s efforts to advance in eastern Ukraine, his loved ones said in an emotional tribute shared on social media.

Dean Gatley wrote on Facebook: “Yesterday (10/06/22) we received the devastating news that our son, Jordan, has been shot and killed in the city of Sievierodonetsk, Ukraine.

“Jordan left the British Army in March this year to continue his career as a soldier in other areas. The war against Europe had begun so, after careful consideration, he went to the Ukraine to help.”

His family said they had received several communications from his team in Ukraine telling them of Jordan’s “wealth of knowledge, his skills as a soldier and his love of his job”.

The public post continued: “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.”

Sievierodonetsk has become the centre of the battle for control over the industrialised Donbas region in the east of Ukraine, which comprises the Luhansk and Donetsk provinces.

Parts of the city have been pulverised in some of the bloodiest fighting since Moscow began its invasion.

Luhansk governor Serhiy Gaidai said on Sunday that Ukrainian and Russian forces were still fighting street by street in Sievierodonetsk. He said that while Russian forces had taken most of the city, Ukrainian troops remained in control of an industrial area and a chemical plant where hundreds of civilians were sheltering.

Reports of Gatley’s death come just days after two British men captured while fighting for Ukraine were sentenced to death in a court in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), one of two breakaway Russian-backed entities in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine that Russia says it is fighting to liberate from Ukrainian forces.

Aiden Aslin, 28, and Shaun Pinner, 48, were subjected to what observers denounced as “a disgusting Soviet-era show trial”.

They were captured in April while fighting alongside Ukrainian forces against Russian invaders in Mariupol.

The British men were sentenced alongside a Moroccan national, Brahim Saadoun, who is reported to have been a student studying in Kyiv before he was detained in April.

All were accused by Russia and Kremlin-backed Donetsk separatists of being “mercenaries”, and were sentenced to death after being accused of “terrorism”.

Foreign secretary Liz Truss has called the sentencing a “sham judgment” and insisted that the UK would continue “to do everything we can to support” the two men.

Ms Truss said: “I utterly condemn the sentencing of Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner, held by Russian proxies in eastern Ukraine. They are prisoners of war. This is a sham judgment with absolutely no legitimacy. My thoughts are with the families.”

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