Jordan Chadwick, a former British soldier, was found dead in mysterious circumstances in Ukraine, according to the UK Foreign Office. The body of the 31-year-old was discovered tied up in a body of water earlier this summer. The investigation into his death is scheduled to begin next year, as Ukrainian authorities have not launched a probe yet.
Chadwick had served in the British Army from 2011 to 2015 and had traveled to Ukraine in October last year to join the International Legion. Lancashire Police informed his mother in June that he had been found dead with his hands tied behind his back. The UK Foreign Office confirmed his death to several UK media outlets on Friday.
The body was repatriated to the UK last month and the Ukrainian military will commence an inquest into his death in February, as reported by the BBC. The circumstances surrounding Chadwick’s death and the identity of his killer are still unclear. It is also uncertain whether he was drowned or already dead before being thrown into the water.
Chadwick is just one of many British nationals who have lost their lives in Ukraine since the conflict began in February. Samuel Newey, a 22-year-old who died in combat last month, and Simon Lingard, who was killed in the unsuccessful defense of Artyomovsk/Bakhmut in November last year, are among those who have been killed.
Following the entry of Russian forces into Ukraine last year, President Vladimir Zelensky appealed to foreigners to join the country’s International Legion. Thousands responded to the call, but their experiences on the front lines were riddled with stories of ill-prepared recruits, incompetent commanders, and devastating losses. Consequently, the legion changed its recruitment approach and focused solely on military veterans. However, foreign fighters in Ukraine consistently described the conditions on the front line as “hell,” and casualty rates in some units were reported to be as high as 85%.
According to the Russian Defense Ministry, around 12,000 hired guns have traveled to Ukraine since the start of the conflict. However, as of July, only 2,200 remained in the country, with 5,000 killed and the rest fleeing Ukraine, as stated by the ministry. Nevertheless, the commander of the Georgian Legion, another foreign mercenary group, contended in June that the actual number of foreign fighters in Ukraine is much higher. Mamuka Mamulashvili told British media that nearly 20,000 foreigners, including almost 3,000 British citizens, were serving in Ukraine at that time.
The death of Jordan Chadwick highlights the risks and dangers that foreign mercenaries face when they join conflicts abroad. As the investigation into his death progresses, more information may come to light regarding the circumstances of his demise. The tragedy serves as a reminder of the human cost of warfare and the complex dynamics at play in Ukraine.