Foreign Aid Workers Killed in Russian Missile Attack in Ukraine


In a traumatic episode of violence in eastern Ukraine, two foreign aid volunteers met a tragic end, and two others sustained grave injuries subjected to a missile attack attributed to Russia. Among the casualties are Emma Igual, the Spanish head of the humanitarian organization, Road to Relief, and her Canadian associate Anthony Ihnat. Their demise occurred on a fateful Saturday as they journeyed towards Bakhmut in their vehicle.

Ruben Mawick, a German volunteer, and Johan Mathias Thyr from Sweden aboard the same vehicle were severely wounded by the shrapnel unleashed by the assault. Their vehicle bore the brunt of a “direct hit”, causing it to capsize and eventually ignite into flames. Engaged in a noble mission, the aid personnel were en route from Slovyansk to Bakhmut to assess the living conditions of the civil populace within Ivanivske, subjected to the horrors of crossfire.

The grim news of a Spanish casualty was also verified by Madrid. Established in Ukraine the previous year, Road to Relief has been instrumental in executing civilian evacuations from conflict zones. At the time of the attack, the team was poised to assess the exigencies of Ivanivske. In their statement, the organization highlighted the notable contributions over their 18-month operational span, which include numerous successful evacuations and essential aid missions.

Fellow aid organization, Action Beyond Words, mourned the loss of Mr Ihnat, portraying him as an “unbelievably gentle, kind guy who would light up any room”, and a true hero of Ukraine. The Ukrainian defence ministry assigned the blame for the horrific attack on the “Russian terrorists”, and acknowledged the organization’s dedication towards civilian projects. The ministry observed the casualty as a deep, irreplaceable loss, remembering Emma and Anthony as heroes whose memory would endure forever in their hearts.

The escalating danger for aid workers in Eastern Ukraine, local and international, is alarmingly evident. A recently published report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reveals a surge in “security incidents” affecting aid efforts, totalling to 100 this year alone. It further noted an increasing trend in attacks on distribution points leading to frequent cessation of aid work. Last year’s records depict a sizable augmentation in the peril faced by aid workers. In 2023 alone, the figure stands at six fatalities and 16 injuries, as opposed to four casualties documented for the entire preceding year.

In a similar episode in January, British nationals Chris Parry and Andrew Bagshaw were killed in Soledar, slightly north of Bakhmut, amidst their efforts to evacuate civilians while Russia’s Wagner mercenary group advanced their siege.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here