'He truly was a hero': Former British soldier killed fighting Russian forces in Ukraine

12 June 2022, 13:54 | Updated: 12 June 2022, 14:17

Jordan Gatley has been killed fighting in Ukraine
Jordan Gatley has been killed fighting in Ukraine. Picture: Dean Gatley/Facebook

By Will Taylor

An ex-British Army soldier who left to fight in Ukraine after Russia's invasion has been killed.

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Jordan Gatley was fighting in the heavily-contested city of Severodonetsk in the east of Ukraine, his devastated family said.

He left the army in March to join Ukrainians in the defence of their country.

His father Dean wrote on a Facebook post: "I didn’t think that Id ever use social media in this way but Sally, Adam and I would like to share some family news with all our friends, but there are just too many people to contact.

"Yesterday (10/06/22) we received the devastating news that our son, Jordan, has been shot and killed in the city of Severodonetsk, Ukraine. Jordan left the British Army in March this year to continue his career as a soldier in other areas."

He said Jordan decided to leave for Ukraine to help after careful consideration once the war broke out.

"We have had several messages from his team out there telling us of his wealth of knowledge, his skills as a soldier and his love of his job," Dean said.

Jordan Gatley was killed while fighting Russian forces
Jordan Gatley was killed while fighting Russian forces. Picture: Dean Gatley/Facebook

"His team say they all loved him, as did we, and he made a massive difference to many peoples lives, not only soldiering, but also by training the Ukrainian forces.

"Jordan and his team were so proud of the work they were doing and he often told me that the missions they were going on were dangerous, but necessary.

He added: "He loved his job and we are so proud of him. He truly was a hero and will forever be in our hearts."

Severodonetsk is seen as the "new Mariupol" as Russians batter the city in brutal determination to seize it.

Mr Gatley was among the heavy fighting in eastern Ukraine, his family said
Mr Gatley was among the heavy fighting in eastern Ukraine, his family said. Picture: Dean Gatley/Facebook

The Kremlin hopes by seizing the city in a characteristically bloody battle that it will effectively control the rest of the Donbas region, which is partly ruled by pro-Russian separatists.

One of those separatist entities, the so-called Donetsk People's Republic, has sentenced two other British fighters, who were part of the Ukrainian military, to death after they were captured in Mariupol.

Read more: Ukraine aims to free captured Brits sentenced to death in prisoner swap deal

Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner appeared to have been forced to call journalists and families with prepared statements, where they said they faced the death penalty or 20 years in prison.

Russia has said the matter is for the Donetsk People's Republic, a state recognised only by Russia.

It is thought the prisoners will likely be offered as part of a swap deal for Russians or pro-Russian people held by Ukraine.

Updates to follow