Friends and volunteers gathered on Sunday at Kyiv’s St Sophia’s Cathedral to say goodbye to Andrew Bagshaw, a dual New Zealand-British citizen who was killed in Ukraine while he and another volunteer who also died tried to evacuate people from a front-line town.
Mr Bagshaw, 47, and British volunteer Christopher Parry, 28, went missing this month while heading to the town of Soledar, in the eastern Donetsk region, where heavy fighting was taking place.
Volunteers spoke of their memories of Mr Bagshaw and read tributes from his family.
Nikolletta Stoyanova, a friend in Ukraine, shared memories of his bravery, saying: “Even if no one wanted to go to Soledar, they can do that. Because if he understood that someone needs help, they need to do this help for these people.”
Mr Bagshaw’s father, Phil, told reporters in New Zealand that his son wanted to do something to help.
“He was a very intelligent man, and a very independent thinker,” he said.
“And he thought a long time about the situation in Ukraine, and he believed it to be immoral. He felt the only thing he could do of a constructive nature was to go there and help people.”
Ukrainian police said on January 9 that they lost contact with Mr Bagshaw and Mr Parry after the two headed for Soledar. Their bodies were later recovered.
In a January 24 statement, Mr Parry’s family said he was “drawn to Ukraine in March in its darkest hour”.
It added that he had “helped those most in need, saving over 400 lives plus many abandoned animals”.
Meanwhile on Sunday, Russia’s Foreign Ministry accused Ukraine and its Western allies of war crimes in connection with the shelling of two hospitals in Russian-held parts of Ukraine.
The ministry made the accusation a day after Russian officials said 14 people died when a hospital in the Luhansk province settlement of Novoaidar was struck.
They said shells also fell on the territory of a hospital in Nova Kakhovka, a Russian-occupied city in Kherson province where a strategically vital bridge across the lower reaches of the Dnieper River is located.
“The deliberate shelling of active civilian medical facilities and the targeted killing of civilians are grave war crimes of the Kyiv regime and its Western masters,” the Foreign Ministry said.
“The lack of reaction from the United States and other Nato countries to this, yet another monstrous trampling of international humanitarian law by Kyiv, once again confirms their direct involvement in the conflict and involvement in the crimes being committed.”
Russian state TV aired footage of what is said was the damaged hospital in Novoaidar. It said rockets hit the pediatric department of the two-storey building.
“There are no military factories here. There are no military vehicles, no tanks. Who did you shoot at?” the state TV report quoted Olga Ryasnaya as saying, identifying her as a pediatric nurse.
Novoaidar is located in Luhansk province, which is almost entirely under the control of Russian forces or Russian-backed separatists. Russian and separatist officials alleged the hospital was deliberately targeted.
The movements of journalists are restricted in areas of Ukraine under Russian control.