Ukraine confirms death of Estonian citizen in Donbass

Ukranian and Estonian flags.
Ukranian and Estonian flags. Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Ukrainian authorities have confirmed that an Estonian citizen died in military operations in Donbass last Monday.

Estonian Ambassador to Ukraine Kaimo Kuusk told ERR the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine and the Commander of the Defense Forces could confirm the death of Mikola Ilin, an Estonian citizen.

"Mikola Ilin served in the Ukrainian Armed Forces in the 35th Infantry Brigade, he was a sergeant. His speciality was medicine," said Kuusk.

Kuuse said the man had no relatives in Estonia and his deportation will take place tomorrow in Kyiv, in addition to Kuus, the Estonian Defense Attache will also attend.

"The Donetsk Regional Prosecutor's Office has also launched an investigation, as they do into all those killed in the war," Kuusk said. He added that the embassy is still waiting for the official approval of the Ukrainian foreign ministry.

Kuusk said a DNA was performed on Monday to identify the body.

Riin Oeselg, communications adviser at the Ministry of the Interior, told ERR that serving in the armed forces of another country is not punishable under Estonian law.

"Fighting terrorism in the service of the Republic of Ukraine is not a crime. Under Ukrainian law, foreigners could also serve in the armed forces of their country under a contract," Oeselg explained.

Kaarel Kallas, head of the Public Relations Department of the Public Prosecutor's Office, told ERR if a citizen of the Republic of Estonia has been killed abroad, the crime is usually prosecuted by the state where the killing took place.

"In principle, the Penal Code provides for the possibility of initiating criminal proceedings in Estonia as well," said Kallas.

Civic activist and lawyer Yevgeny Krishafovich wrote in a social media post that Ilin's his ashes would be divided into three between Estonia, Belarus and Ukraine. Ilin took Estonian citizenship after renouncing his Belarusian citizenship in

"Officially, however, Mikola was a citizen of the Republic of Estonia until his last day. He was undeniably an Estonian patriot, he loved Estonia very much. I am very proud to know him [and] that I persuaded him to come to live in Estonia in 2006," Krishtafovich wrote.

Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) confirmed an Estonian citizen died in military activities in Donbass last week.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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