LONDON — A British aid volunteer who was captured by Russian separatists has died while in their custody, his family has confirmed.
Britain’s Foreign Office told Paul Urey’s family that he died on July 10 from a “sickness,” Sky News reported on Friday. According to the BBC, Urey’s mother is “distraught and still in shock” at the news of her son’s death.
Urey, according to reports, was arrested at a checkpoint in the city of Zaporizhzhia, in southeastern Ukraine, back in April. His daughters told Sky News they had not been aware that he was in Ukraine until they found out he was detained, and that they were “preparing for the worst.”
Urey, 45, was charged with committing “mercenary activities” after he was detained in the breakaway region of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, proclaimed by separatists as the Donetsk People's Republic (DPR).
He was held captive along with a fellow volunteer, Dylan Healy, who had reportedly been attempting to rescue a woman and her family who were trapped because of the fighting.
Upon hearing the news, the Foreign Office summoned the Russian ambassador to the U.K., Andrei Kelin, on Friday to express its “deep concern” over Urey’s death. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said those responsible would be “held to account.”
“I am shocked to hear reports of the death of British aid worker Paul Urey while in the custody of a Russian proxy in Ukraine,” Truss said on Friday. “Russia must bear the full responsibility for this.”
Daria Morozova, who holds the title of the ombudsman of human rights in the DPR, said on social media that Urey had been suffering from kidney, cardiovascular and respiratory issues, as well as diabetes.
“On our part, despite the severity of the alleged crime, Paul Urey was provided with appropriate medical assistance,” she said. “However, given the diagnoses and stress, he passed away on July 10."
Yahoo News has contacted the British Foreign Office for comment.