Ukrainian man who lived in Ireland for 20 years killed in battle after returning home 4 months ago

Ukrainian man who lived in Ireland for 20 years killed in battle after returning home

A fundraiser has been set up for the family of Oleksandr Zavhorodniy following his death in Ukraine.

Oleksandr Zavhorodniy, who lived in Ireland for the last 20 years, has died after returning to his native Ukraine to fight against Russian forces invading the country.

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Zavhorodniy left Ireland for Ukraine at the beginning of March.

RTÉ News confirmed that the 45-year-old, who worked in Aldi in Sandyford, Dublin, has died following heavy fighting in city of Popasna, near Luhansk.

Zavhorodniy died on Wednesday, 30 March.

A fundraiser has been set up for Zavhorodniy's family,

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"He spent over 20 years in Ireland, where he found his second home," said Anya Neilande, friend of Zavhorodniy and organiser of the GoFundMe page.

"His heart, however, remained in Ukraine, and that's why he chose to go back – to protect his country and its people."

Neilande noted how Zavhorodniy "gave everything he had" to people in need upon his arrival in Warshaw prior to entering the conflict in Ukraine.

"When he arrived at the military unit, he kept positive and did his best to calm his worrying family and friends by joking and sending funny pictures," said Neilande.

"We all will miss his kindness and cracking sense of humour, even in the most challenging situations."

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The fundraiser, which has raised over €5,000 at the time of writing, aims to try and help Zavhorodniy's family who are now away from home – "mostly displaced and devastated" – and will not be able to attend his funeral in his hometown of Okhtyrka.

"Still, we want to ensure his family can give Alex the memorial he deserves to honour his memory and say their last goodbyes," said Neilande, who has pledged to send all donations to his family.

You can view the GoFundMe page for Oleksandr Zavhorodniy here.

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On Wednesday morning, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky delivered a powerful address to a joint sitting of the Houses of the Oireachtas.

Zelensky said he was grateful to every citizen of Ireland for the support his country has received since the invasion of Russian military forces at the end of February.

The conclusion of Zelensky's speech led to a standing ovation from the vast majority of those in attendance at Dáil Éireann, with the notable exception of the four TDs representing People Before Profit.

PBP members Richard Boyd Barrett, Paul Murphy, Gino Kenny and Bríd Smith rose to their feet, though chose not to applaud.

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In a statement, the party explained its stance, noting that People Before Profit cannot endorse further sanctions on "ordinary" Russian people.

The party also cited Zelensky's banning of opposition parties in Ukraine, labelling this action "a worrying attack on democratic rights".

Taoiseach Micheál Martin told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that while Ireland is a militarily neutral country, it is "not politically or morally neutral" in the face of war crimes.

"We heard grave testimony from you this morning and we've seen ourselves the most shocking and harrowing of images from Bucha, from Irpin, from Mariupol and from across Ukraine," said the Taoiseach.

"Russia will have to live with the shame and ignominy of what they have done in Ukraine for generations.

"Those responsible will be held to account.

"We are with Ukraine and I am certain, in the end, Ukraine will prevail."