Paper: First Estonian loses life in Ukraine war
Former Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) officer Ivo Jurak was killed in action near the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut on Tuesday, daily Postimees reports.
Jurak is the first Estonian known to have fallen in the Ukraine war.
Postimees reports (link in Estonian) that Jurak had been fighting for the Ukrainian foreign legion since autumn last year, and was killed by artillery fire on Tuesday this week.
He had served as a staff officer in the EDF's support command movement coordination center (Liikumise koordineerimise keskus) and was also a former intelligence chief in the Scouts Battalion (Scoutspataljon) and Guard Battalion (Vahipataljon).
Bakhmut has been under siege from Russian forces for many months now in an attritional campaign that has seen heavy losses incurred on the Russian side. Only small numbers of civilians remain in the city.
The International Legion of Territorial Defence of Ukraine was formed shortly after Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine began, in February 2022.
NGO Vaba Ukraina stated that Jurak had also been a member of Estcoy-8, which had been deployed to Afghanistan and suffered the highest losses there of any Estonian unit.
The organization tweeted that Jurak was: "A defender of Ukraine's freedom and peace for us all. The first Estonian loss in this war. This morning started with sad news."
Ivo Jurak. Eestlane. Sõdur. Enim kaotusi kandnud Eesti välismissiooni Estcoy-8 liige. Ukraina vabaduse ja meie kõigi rahu kaitsja. Eesti esimene kaotus selles sõjas. Kurva uudisega algab tänane hommik.https://t.co/5uHvhP3kra— MTÜ Vaba Ukraina (@SvenSalumets) March 10, 2023
Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu also expressed his condolences to the relatives of Ivo Jurak, and promised the necessary consular assistance with regard to the situatin.
Reinsalu said: "He the first known Estonian citizen to have fallen since the beginning of the full-scale aggression [in Ukraine]. We commemorate him. We stand by Ukraine as a country and a people."
This article was updated to include comment from Foreign Minister Reinsalu.
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Editor: Andrew Whyte