British aid worker dies in Russia-backed separatist detention in Ukraine: official

British aid worker dies in Russia-backed separatist detention in Ukraine: official
Paul Urey, 45, was captured in southeast Ukraine in late April and charged with "mercenary activities" by separatists in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic.
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Paul Urey, 45, was captured in southeast Ukraine in late April [Kutay Tanir/Getty-file photo]

A British aid worker who was detained by Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine and accused of being a mercenary has died, an official in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) said on Friday.

Paul Urey, 45, was captured in southeast Ukraine in late April and charged with "mercenary activities" by separatists in the DPR, a breakaway entity which is recognised only by Russia, the Syrian regime and North Korea.

Presidium Network, a non-profit relief group which advised Urey on the dangers of the frontline, described him as a humanitarian volunteer.

It said Britain's Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) had informed Urey's family of his death.

No immediate comment was available from the FCDO.

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Daria Morozova, who has the title of human rights ombudsman in the DPR, said on social media that Urey had been suffering from diabetes and respiratory, kidney and cardiovascular issues.

"On our part, despite the severity of the alleged crime, Paul Urey was provided with appropriate medical assistance. However, given the diagnoses and stress, he passed away on July 10," she said.

Urey and another Briton, Dylan Healy, were detained at a checkpoint controlled by separatist forces in late April.

The head of Presidium Network told ITV News in May that Urey had diabetes.

Two other Britons and a Moroccan man who were captured while fighting for Ukraine have been sentenced to death in the DPR for alleged mercenary activities.

(Reuters)