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Body of missing British aid worker found, group claims

2023-06-04 19:45:54 [Press center9] source:Reuters

A Russian mercenary group fighting in Ukraine has said it has found the body of one of two British aid workers reported missing over the weekend.

The Foreign Office, which has not confirmed the claim, said it was supporting the families of the two men.

Andrew Bagshaw, 48, and Chris Parry, 28, were last seen heading to the town of Soledar on Friday, where fighting has been intense in recent days.

The Wagner group said on Wednesday a body had been found without naming him.

The claim has not been verified by the BBC.

On social media, the group posted photographs of documents that were said to belong to the missing men.

The statement posted on messaging platform Telegram from the press office of the head of the pro-Kremlin Wagner group claimed the body was found in eastern Ukraine.

The Foreign Office said it was aware of recent reports and was in touch with the Ukrainian authorities.

Later, Downing Street said the reports, which were yet to be verified, were "deeply concerning".

The Kremlin has told the BBC it had no information on the discovery of the body.

Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he only knew from media reports that British citizens were involved.

He added he had read in Russian media reports that the men were fighters.

Russian propaganda outlets have reported the two aid workers were fighters, but there is no evidence that is the case.

Mr Parry and Mr Bagshaw had been in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine doing voluntary work, helping to evacuate people from the front line.

Earlier this week, family of Mr Parry, originally from Truro in Cornwall but living in Cheltenham, said they were "very worried" about his health and whereabouts.

He "would not be dissuaded from his work in Ukraine liberating elderly and disabled people, which we are very proud of", they said.

The parents of Mr Bagshaw, who lives in New Zealand, said they "love him dearly" and were immensely proud of all his work helping Ukrainians.

They said he had been delivering food and medicines and helping the elderly.

Soledar, a town north of Bakhmut in east Ukraine, has been the focus of recent fighting.

The Wagner Group has claimed control over the town - but Ukraine said on Wednesday that its soldiers were holding out. Neither claim has been verified.

The fighting and scale of devastation has made it difficult for journalists to access the area and get a clear picture of what it happening.

The Foreign Office is warning against all travel to Ukraine, saying there is "a real risk to life".

British nationals still in Ukraine should leave immediately if it is safe to do so, it adds.

(editor-in-charge:Press center9)

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