Brit aid worker who died after being captured in Ukraine 'suffered unspeakable torture'

8 September 2022, 08:23

Mr Urey was tortured, Ukraine has claimed
Mr Urey was tortured, Ukraine has claimed. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

A British aid worker who died after being captured by pro-Russian separatists was the victim of "unspeakable torture", Ukraine has claimed.

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Paul Urey was seized at a checkpoint in the southeastern city of Zaporizhzhia in April.

He was held by fighters in the so-called Donetsk People's Republic in the east of Ukraine who charged him with "mercenary activities" before dying of what they claimed was an illness.

His body has now been handed over to Ukrainian authorities who have been appalled by what they say are signs he endured serious abuse during his detention.

Dmytro Kuleba, the Ukrainian foreign minister, tweeted: "Russians have returned the body of a British humanitarian worker Paul Urie [sic] whom they captured in April and reported dead due to 'illnesses' and 'stress' in July.

"With signs of possible unspeakable torture. Detaining and torturing civilians is barbarism and a heinous war crime.

"I express my deepest condolences to relatives and close ones of Paul Urie. He was a brave man who dedicated himself to saving people.

Mr Urey&squot;s body shows signs of "unspeakable" torture
Mr Urey's body shows signs of "unspeakable" torture. Picture: PA

"Ukraine will never forget him and his deeds. We will identify perpetrators of this crime and hold them to account. They won;t escape justice."

The distraught mother of the 45-year-old, from Warrington, previously branded the Donetsk separatists "murderers".

A Foreign Office spokesperson said: "We are disturbed by reports that aid worker Paul Urey may have been tortured in detention.

Read more: British aid worker Paul Urey dies after being detained by pro-Russian forces in Ukraine

"It is essential that we see the results of a full post-mortem as soon as possible."

Mr Urey was seized with a fellow Brit, Dylan Healy.

Russia has tried to make the most of Brits captured in Ukraine.

Mr Urey was seized during the war in Ukraine
Mr Urey was seized during the war in Ukraine. Picture: Alamy

Also held is Aiden Aslin, who is part of the Ukrainian military but faces a death sentence because he was wrongly branded a mercenary by those in charge of the separatist, pro-Russian authorities in the Donetsk region.

He was convicted by a court in the almost entirely unrecognised "state" along with Shaun Pinner, 48.

The classification of them as mercenaries was criticised because they were part of the Ukrainian forces.

The pair had announced their intentions to appeal but the "legal" process involved in their case was heavily criticised.

Read more: Putin turns to North Korea in humiliating search for new weapons to use against Ukraine

Pro-Russian forces have tried to use them as propaganda, having them contact family members and media outlets.

Such moves have been decried as an attempt to free pro-Russian politicians held by Ukrainian authorities.

Another Brit, Andrew Hill, 35, had also faced charges.

Meanwhile, Ukraine has launched a counter attack to reclaim territory with particular focus on the Kherson region, but it has implemented a heavy news blackout.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said some settlements have already been recaptured in the offensive, which follows weeks of deep strikes against Russian forces.

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