Ukraine: Fears notorious Russian mercenary group have found the body of Brit - 'Deep concern'

Aid workers, Andrew Bagshaw and Christopher Parry, were reported missing on Friday

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Downing Street has said it is "deeply concerned" by reports fighters from a notorious Russian mercenary group have found the body of one of two British aid workers, missing in eastern Ukraine.

The Foreign Office has also told GB News it is aware of the claim by the Wagner Group of military contractors, and is supporting the families of both men.

Andrew Bagshaw and Christopher Parry, were reported missing on Friday.

The pair were said to be heading for the embattled town of Soledar in the Donbas, to help evacuate the elderly and the infirm from the town.

The private military contractor did not confirm which man's body had been found but posted pictures of both of their passports.

The two Brits went missing on Friday
The two Brits went missing on Friday

In a post on the group's Telegram messaging account said: "On January 8, the Ask Wagner hotline received a request to find two British citizens who disappeared on January 6 in Soledar - Andrew Bagshaw and Christopher Parry.

"Today the body of one of them was found, and documents on both Britons were found with him."

Although the Prime Minister's official spokesman said the reports were "deeply concerning" they "should be treated with caution" until there is proper verification."

Ukrainian national police said voluntary worker Mr Parry, 28, went missing on Friday with Mr Bagshaw, 48, while traveling to Soledar.

The family of Mr Parry have previously spoken of their pride in his work but expressed concern for his health and whereabouts.

Soledar has been the site of intense fighting for many weeks now, with claims and counter claims over who is in control of the town.

The Wagner mercenaries, who are spearheading the Russian push to take Soledar, said they had prevailed on Wednesday.

But the Ukrainian military said those claims were false and that their troops were still putting up a "fierce fight."

Ukrainian military drone footage released today showed what the Ukrainians claimed were Wagner forces coming under bombardment from German supplied Howitzer artillery fire.

The fall of Soledar would also have strategic value, as it may help Russian troops in their assault on the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut
The fall of Soledar would also have strategic value, as it may help Russian troops in their assault on the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut

The footage showed smoke and explosions and troops on the ground running to find cover.

The capture of the city by Russian forces would be a major symbolic victory for the Kremlin, after months in which Ukrainian counter-offensives appear to have gained much of the momentum.

The fall of Soledar would also have strategic value, as it may help Russian troops in their assault on the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, around 6 miles south west of Soledar.

President Vladimir Putin has also removed Russia's top general in Ukraine, just three months after he took control of operation there.

Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov will now lead the Russian war effort.