The British aid worker Paul Urey, 45, has died while being held hostage by pro-Russia separatists in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR), a local official in the rebel-held territory has said.
His mother, Linda Urey, said she was “absolutely devastated” and described the separatists as “murderers”.
Posting on Facebook, she said: “I’m truly angry. I told you he was a very sick man, I told [you] he was diabetic, I begged on Sky News to give me my son back. Why did you let him die? I want answers. Why didn’t you release him?
“I hate you all. I’m absolutely fuming, I really am. I’m angry, very very very very angry. Murderers, that’s what you are.”
On 29 April, the non-profit Presidium Network said Urey had been detained at a checkpoint in southern Ukraine with a fellow Briton, Dylan Healy.
The two men were later charged with “mercenary activities” by separatists in the rebel-held DNR.
Daria Morozova, DNR’s ombudsman who deals with prisoners’ rights, wrote on Telegram on Friday that Urey died on 10 July as a result of “illness and stress”.
“Already during the first medical examination, Paul Urey was diagnosed with a number of chronic diseases, including insulin-dependent diabetes, damage to the respiratory system, kidneys and a number of diseases of the cardiovascular system,” Morozova added.
“On our part, despite the severity of the alleged crime, Paul Urey was provided with appropriate medical assistance.”
Linda Urey previously told the media that her son was diabetic and needed insulin.
Morozova further claimed that the British Foreign Office had provided “no reaction” to Urey’s capture despite being notified of his situation. She claimed Urey was a “professional fighter” who had taken part in conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, leading “military operations”.
Dominik Byrne, the co-founder and chief operating officer of the Presidium Network, said at the time of Urey’s capture that he was working independently in Ukraine as a humanitarian aid volunteer.
In early May, Urey appeared on Russian state television in handcuffs. In the footage, which his mother said had been made under duress, he criticised the UK government and slammed British media coverage of the war.
Urey’s sisters previously told Sky News: “We’re just about coping for now. We really don’t know anything, like if he’ll be OK there, if he’s coming home or going back to Ukraine as a prisoner swap.
“We just don’t know, so we’re preparing for the worst.”
Urey is the first known foreigner to have died in the custody of pro-Russia separatists since the start of the war.
Last month, two British men and a Moroccan national captured while fighting in the Ukrainian army were sentenced to death by a court in Donetsk in what officials described as a “disgusting Soviet-era show trial”.