Irishman killed fighting in Ukraine

Irishman killed fighting in Ukraine

A MAN from Achill Island has been killed in Ukraine.

Finbar Cafferkey, who was in his 40s, died while fighting Russian forces, his family has told Irish broadcaster RTÉ.

Mr Cafferkey is understood to have travelled to the country to assist local forces.

A spokesman for the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs said the department was aware of the case and was providing consular assistance.

Mr Cafferkey was killed while battling Russian forces near Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine, his family confirmed. He was serving as a military volunteer and had previous combat experience in the Syrian conflict. Friends said he was known to be an activist on environmental and human rights issues. Tánaiste Micheál Martin expressed his sympathies to his family and said Mr Cafferkey was “obviously a young man of clear principles”. On foot of this, the Russian embassy issued a warning to the Irish government. In a statement headed ‘Embassy of Russia in Ireland’ it said: “Every loss of life is sad and regretful.

“We do not know who Finbar Cafferkey was, except that for whatever reason he was fighting in a foreign land.

“We do not know what his principles were. What we do know, though, is that in a very big way it is the Irish Government and media who bear responsibility for the death of Finbar Cafferkey.

“It has been the Government and media who have been promoting anti-Russian propaganda, distorting the truth about the conflict in Ukraine, misleading people like Finbar Cafferkey.

“Now they face the results of their own efforts,” it said. “We also do not know if Mr Martin’s remarks signify support for the Irish to take part in combat in Ukraine, but we do know that if that is the case, then Ireland would be the direct participant of the conflict with all the ensuing consequences.”

Former Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan tweeted that the message from the Russian Embassy was “threatening, intimidating and chilling”.

“These hostile remarks are unacceptable,” he said, adding that it was “beyond time” that the Russian ambassador Yury Filatov and “his crew were asked to leave our country”.