Wednesday, 7 December, 2022
E-paper

Japanese man dies fighting in Ukraine war

A Japanese man fighting alongside Ukrainian soldiers against Russia has died, becoming the country's first confirmed casualty in the war, authorities in Tokyo said Friday.

The man, who was in his 20s, was killed in combat on Wednesday, said top government spokesman Hirokazu Matsuno.

A foreign ministry official told AFP the man is believed to be the first Japanese national to have died in Ukraine "since the invasion began in February".

Japan has for months urged its citizens to evacuate the war-ravaged nation and has issued its highest-level warning against travelling there.

Japanese diplomats are in the process of "contacting the family and offering necessary assistance", Matsuno told reporters.

While no other details were provided by officials, Jiji Press reported that the man belonged to a squad fighting in eastern Ukraine.

At the start of the invasion, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky openly invited foreigners to his country to join an "international legion" that would fight side-by-side with Ukrainians against the Russians.

By March, some 20,000 international volunteers, mostly from European countries, had joined the fight against Moscow, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told US broadcaster CNN.

Last week, Taipei's foreign ministry said a Taiwanese volunteer in Ukraine had died on the battlefield, believed to be the first person from the island killed in the conflict.