Richard Spurr 1am - 4am
Mystery as British medic, 26, 'found dead in her bed in Ukraine' after serving in war for 18 months
29 December 2023, 17:31 | Updated: 29 December 2023, 18:51
A British woman who volunteered in the war in Ukraine for eighteen months has been found dead in her bed, with no explanation for why she died.
Listen to this article
Katherine Mielniczuk, known as Kasia, was discovered in bed in the early hours of Christmas Eve.
Local volunteer organisation Project Konstantin announced her death with "deep regret".
"We learned of this dreadful news a couple of hours ago and after talks with her family, we have offered to help," they said.
"All we know is that she was discovered in her bed this morning (24 December 2023), the cause of her death at this stage is not being treated as suspicious."
South-east London-born Kasia, 26, was serving in the 151st unit of the Special Operations Forces and had been in Ukraine for a year and a half.
Her family said in a statement: "She devoted her life to helping others, as a medic, as a scientist and researcher, and as a friend.
"She volunteered her last 18 months in Ukraine, working in logistical aid and as a combat medic all over the country.
"It is impossible to truly convey what an incredible woman Katherine was or how deeply and widely she was loved and will be missed.
"Kasia is gone, but the endless warmth, love and grace she brought to the world will never be lost."
Her family set up a fundraiser to help bring her body back to the UK.
One friend commented: "I will forever miss our hours-long phone calls, where I could talk to you about anything and everything, and walking dogs from the animal shelter together."
Another wrote: "At university you were always someone who I could turn to and looked out for me. I’m really going to miss you. I’ll see you when I’m older xx."
Kasia first worked in Ukraine as a instructor and combat medic with a group called StaySafeUA.
Earlier this year she had moved to serve on the frontline.
Her former boss at StaySafeUA Andriy Depko told MailOnline: "She did so much for Ukraine in the 13 months she was with us, before she left to be a military paramedic.
"She wanted to be on the very front lines, saving soldiers and using the education and skills she had. She wanted to be there 24/7.
"She wanted to show how brave she was."
A spokesperson for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said: "We are supporting the family of a British woman who died in Ukraine and are in touch with the local authorities."
To support repatriation and funeral costs for Ms Mielniczuk, visit: https://donorbox.org/katherine-mielniczuk
Ukraine is 'winning' says Defence Sec as he pledges continual support
The news comes as Ukraine struggles nearly two years into its war with Russia.
On Friday, Vladimir Putin unleashed a massive air raid on Ukraine, killing twelve people and wounding dozens more after his humiliating loss of a warship.
Kyiv said 158 drones and missiles blasted targets across the country, including a maternity hospital and people's homes.
Kyiv, Lviv, Odesa, Zaporizhzhia, Dnipro and Kharkiv were all struck.