Wednesday, 8 Feb 2023

Missing British aid workers in Ukraine got caught in ‘Russian attack’

Ukraine: Drone captures destruction in Bakhmut

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As two British aid workers now missing in Ukraine made attempts to evacuate civilians from the frontline in the east, Russian forces “mounted an offensive” and wrought havoc on the nearby area, a colleague of the pair has said.

Christopher Parry, 28, and Andrew Bagshaw, 48, had been “pushing into” Soledar to “perform an evacuation” when “Russian forces unfortunately mounted an offensive on the village”, aid worker Christian Campbell reported. The news is concerning for the loved ones of the missing men in light of reports recent Russian attacks on Soledar had been brutal and sweeping.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky claiming in his nightly address on Monday that “everything was completely destroyed” in the area.

Christian Campbell, a humanitarian aid worker from Tennessee, said “teams are working to find” the missing pair.

Mr Parry and Mr Bagshaw have not been since January 6 after they headed to the outskirts of Soledar.

Following their departure, swathes of Russian forces, led by the vicious Wager Group of mercenaries, many of whom are convicts taken from Russian prisons to fight in Ukraine, started attacks on the area.

Mr Campbell urged people to “pray for Chris and Andrew’s return as well as for their families during this time”.

The parents of one of the British men missing have since spoken of feeling “raw” in the aftermath of their son’s disappearance.

Christine Parry, Mr Parry’s mother, told MailOnline: “It’s all very raw at the moment. We are just trying to inform family members about what is going on.”

His father Robin Parry reportedly said: “We are all very proud of Chris and the work he has been doing.”

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

Soledar is located just six miles northeast of Bakhmut in Donetsk Oblast, eastern Ukraine. On Tuesday, Wagner Group chief Yevgeny Prigozhin said his forces had engaged in heavy fighting on the western outskirts of the city.

In the past week, they have advanced on Soledar in the hope that it will afford them a route into Bakhmut, where almost no gains have been made despite months of vicious fighting and seismic losses.

Personnel from the Wagner Group are now understood to be in control of most of the small, eastern salt-mining town, according to British military intelligence.

In its daily intelligence update on Tuesday, the Ministry of Defence said: “In the last four days, Russian and Wagner forces have made tactical advances into the small Donbas town of Soledar and are likely in control of most of the settlement.

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“Russia’s Soledar axis is highly likely an effort to envelop Bakhmut from the north, and to disrupt Ukrainian lines of communication.”

The phrase “Hold Bakhmut” has now become the resounding call from the Ukrainian Armed Forces as they continue to fortify their positions and repel Russian attacks.

In his overnight address late on Monday, Mr Zelensky said of Soledar: “Everything is completely destroyed, there is almost no life left.

“Thousands of their people have been lost: the whole ground near Soledar is covered with the corpses of the occupiers and scars from the blows. This is what madness looks like.”

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