Canadian fighting with Ukrainian forces dies in battle: reports

'He was one of the more gentle and kindest people I’ve met. He lived and breathed doing what was right and helping others'

Global Affairs Canada says it’s aware of the death of a Canadian citizen after reports that a young medical student fighting with Ukrainian forces was killed in battle. 

Multiple media reports say Grygorii Tsekhmistrenko died on Sunday near the city of Bakhmut.

A friend of Tsekhmistrenko’s spoke with The Canadian Press while on his way to meet the fighter’s family to help make funeral arrangements. 

Adam Thiemann says he got word from a soldier in Ukraine that Tsekhmistrenko was killed Sunday in the contested eastern Donetsk region, where fighting has raged for months. 

Thiemann says he fought alongside Tsekhmistrenko for months as part of the Ukrainian Foreign Legion.

He says the medic, a dual citizen, was a beloved member of his unit who studied tactical medicine before joining the Foreign Legion. 

“He was just so happy to help. He’s not the medic who didn’t want to be there or will take a shortcut,” he said. 

Jack Frye, a friend who also fought alongside Tsekhmistrenko, said the medic returned to Ukraine when the war started. 

“He was one of the more gentle and kindest people I’ve met. He lived and breathed doing what was right and helping others,” he said in an email exchange. 

“Everyone loved Greg. I am glad I had the privilege to be his friend, and fight alongside him.” 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 17, 2023.

Banner image via The Canadian Press

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