A famous New Zealand soldier was killed in Ukraine
New Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed today that former New Zealand soldier Kane Te Tai (38) was killed in Ukraine. Te Tai fought on the Ukrainian side of the war as part of the International Legion for the Territorial Defense of Ukraine. He is the third New Zealander known to have died in Ukraine.
For many New Zealanders, Te Tai exemplified the country's unofficial involvement in the Ukrainian war. He raised funds for equipment and gave newspaper interviews before leaving New Zealand last May. He continued to document his friendships, battles, and everyday life on Instagram and Facebook, he writes.The Guardian".
The video he posted earlier this month captured the moment he was unexpectedly reunited with a Ukrainian friend who had been held hostage by Russian soldiers for months, and whom Te Tai recognized when the man started yelling at him: "New Zealand! My brother!".
Sad news from Ukraine...
The volunteer soldier from New Zealand, Kane Te Tai (right), has been killed in battle against the Russian Army.
A video of him liberating a Ukrainian friend captured by the Russians recently went viral around the world.
- Visegrad 24 (@ visegrad24) March 21, 2023
Te Tai announced last April that he would quit his job at a construction company and travel to Ukraine "to help as much as he can." He himself is one of many foreign fighters, estimated at several thousand, who have traveled to Ukraine since Volodymyr Zelenskiy appealed for foreigners to join Ukraine's defense.
At least eight Britons, seven Americans and four Georgians are among those killed in the war. Te Tai, who during his 10-year service in the New Zealand Army also went through Afghanistan, posted a tribute to fallen members of the International Legion on social media.
Last month, he gave an interview to CNN as part of a story about a group training new recruits near the war-torn city of Vuledar. "There is so much emotion in these fights. Mainly because, judging by a lot of what I saw, they (Russian soldiers) don't want to be here either," he said at the time.
After leaving the military in 2010, Te Tai co-founded a charity to support veterans' mental health. New Zealand's foreign affairs ministry said on Tuesday it was "aware of reports" that a New Zealander had been killed there, but it was only today that Te Tai's death was officially confirmed.
The New Zealand embassy in Warsaw will try to find out more details, the statement said. New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins yesterday said the war in Ukraine was an "unjust" and "illegal invasion" but urged New Zealanders not to travel there.