Former British soldier Jordan Gatley was shot dead Friday while volunteering to help Ukraine defend Sievierodonetsk, his family announced in a post to Facebook. Photo courtesy Anton Gerashchenko/Twitter
June 12 (UPI) -- A former British soldier has been killed fighting for Ukraine in the besieged city of Sievierodonetsk, his family announced.
Jordan Gatley was shot dead Friday while volunteering to help Ukraine defend Sievierodonetsk, his family announced in a post Saturday to Facebook. His death was confirmed by Anton Gerashchenko, an advisor to Ukraine's internal affairs minister, in a post to Twitter.
"I didn't think that I'd 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," his father Dean Gatley said in the post.
Gatley left the British Army in March to fight in Ukraine, just weeks after Russia invaded the country on Feb. 24. Gerashchenko said in his post that Gatley also helped train Ukrainian forces.
"The war against Europe had begun so after careful consideration, he went to Ukraine to help," Dean Gatley wrote.
"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. His team say they all loved him, as did we, and he made a massive difference to many people's lives."
Dean Gatley added that his son told him that the missions he was going on "were dangerous but necessary."
"He loved his job and we are so proud of him," Dean Gatley said. "He truly was a hero and will forever be in our hearts."
Russian troops have destroyed two of the three bridges into Sievierodonetsk in a final push to take control of the key city in eastern Ukraine, officials said Sunday.
Sievierodonetsk is the last remaining Ukrainian stronghold in the Luhansk oblast of Ukraine, which experts have said Russian President Vladimir Putin intends to annex into Russia in coming months.
Data from the office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees shows that 4,904,207 individual refugees have left Ukraine since Russia invaded on Feb. 24 and more than 4,000 civilians have been killed.
The agency has also recorded more than 2.3 million border-crossing movements to Ukraine but noted that figure does not represent individual people or sustained returns.
Jens Stoltenberg, the secretary-general of NATO, said Sunday that Turkey's concerns over Sweden and Finland joining the military alliance are "legitimate."
Sweden and Finland announced last month that the countries had changed their stances on neutrality since Russia's invasion of Ukraine and would apply for NATO membership.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has voiced opposition to their NATO bid on accusations that the countries have harbored members of the Kurdistan Worker's Party, a militant political group that seeks independence from Turkey.
Joining the alliance requires unanimous approval from its 30 member nations.
Meanwhile, more than a dozen locations of former McDonald's restaurants sold after the American company pulled out of Russia have opened as the rebranded Vkusno & Tochka in Moscow and the surrounding region.