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US volunteer confirmed killed in Bakhmut
Pete Reed, a 33-year-old U.S. volunteer aid worker, was killed in the front-line city of Bakhmut, Donetsk Oblast, “while rendering aid,” Global Response Medicine, the humanitarian aid group Reed founded, confirmed on Feb. 3.
“In January, Pete stepped away from Global Response Medicine to work with Global Outreach Doctors on their Ukraine mission and was killed while rendering aid,” the organization wrote on Instagram. The exact circumstances of Reed's death were not specificied.
“This is a stark reminder of the perils rescue and aid workers face in conflict zones as they serve citizens caught in the crossfire.”
The news of Reed's death comes around a month after British volunteers Andrew Bagshaw and Chris Parry went missing during an evacuation mission in the neighboring town of Soledar.
Several weeks later, both were confirmed by their families to have been killed in Soledar, caught up in the Russian assualt on the city.
Russian regular forces, along with Kremlin-controlled mercenary group Wagner, have been attempting to capture Bakhmut for months as Russia tries to consolidate its grip over the entirety of Ukraine's eastern Donetsk Oblast, around half of which it currently controls.
President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Feb. 3 that Ukraine has no intention of giving up Bakhmut.
“No one will surrender Bakhmut. We will fight as long as we can,” Zelensky said at a press conference following a historic Ukraine-EU summit in Kyiv.
According to Zelensky, Russia plans to soon launch a major offensive in the east and northeast, targeting cities like Bakhmut and Lyman.
On Feb. 2, Ukraine's defense intellifence agency issued a stark warning that Russia was redeploying additional assault groups and military equipment to capture Donbas – comprised of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts – by March.
At least 5,990 civilians, including 200 children, are still living in Bakhmut, according to local law enforcement.
Capturing Bakhmut would allow Russia to disrupt Ukraine’s supply lines in the area and gain control over a main road leading to the two large Ukrainian-held cities of Kramatorsk and Sloviansk.