Australian citizen killed in Ukraine as Kyiv gains vital foothold

Australian citizen killed in Ukraine as Kyiv gains vital foothold

An Australian citizen, reportedly a military veteran, has been killed during heavy fighting in eastern Ukraine.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed to that it was “providing consular assistance to the family of an Australian who died in Ukraine”.

“We send our deepest condolences to the family at this difficult time,” a DFAT spokesperson said.

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“Owing to our privacy obligations we cannot provide further comment.”

Sources have identified the dead Australian, a male, as a former member of the Australian Army who was fighting alongside American ex-soldiers in a foreign mercenary unit, known as the “Chosen Company”, the ABC reports.

He was serving with the Ukraine Armed Forces’ 59th motorised brigade when he died during a Russian artillery attack, social media reports said.

A former United States soldier was also killed during the same engagement.

Several Australians in Ukraine have been killed since Russia launched its invasion last February.

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The Australian Government travel advice for Ukraine remains at “Do not travel”.

The death comes as Ukrainan forces established footholds on on the Russian-held bank of the Dnieper River.

It represents a small but potentially significant strategic advance in the midst of a war largely at a standstill.

The General Staff of Ukraine’s armed forces said its troops there had repelled 12 attacks by the Russian army between Friday and Saturday.

The wide river is a natural dividing line along the southern battlefront.

Since withdrawing from the city of Kherson and retreating across the Dnieper a year ago, Moscow’s forces have regularly shelled communities on the Ukrainian-held side of the river to prevent Kyiv’s soldiers from advancing toward Russia-annexed Crimea.

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