Good morning. It’s James Keller in Calgary.
Russia’s war against Ukraine has been acutely felt on the Prairies. Members of the region’s significant Ukrainian population have worried about family and friends still in the country, while some have welcomed refugees into their homes and communities.
There have also been stories of Canadians heading overseas to join the war effort themselves as volunteer soldiers. And the dangers of that war have also rippled back home, with three such volunteers killed so far.
The most recent fatality occurred this past weekend, when a combat medic from Saskatchewan was killed. Grygorii Tsekhmistrenko – known to his Canadian friends as Greg and to his comrades in Ukraine as Doc Snickers – died on Sunday near the front-line city of Bakhmut, according to his friends and fellow fighters.
In July, Émile-Antoine Roy-Sirois, a 31-year-old Quebecker, became the first Canadian killed fighting in Ukraine when he and three other foreign volunteers were ambushed by a Russian tank in the Donetsk region. Joseph Hildebrand, a 33-year-old from Saskatchewan, died in November when he came under Russian artillery fire near Bakhmut.
Mr. Tsekhmistrenko’s sister, Alysa, said she was was shocked by the news and initially denied on Instagram that it was true. Eventually, she was convinced that her brother was indeed gone.
“He left us like a hero and his family is proud of him … and his sister loves him very much,” Alysa, who lives in Ukraine, wrote to The Globe and Mail.
Mr. Tsekhmistrenko spent much of his life in Ukraine but acquired Canadian citizenship three years ago at a ceremony in Saskatchewan.
This is the weekly Western Canada newsletter written by B.C. Editor Wendy Cox and Alberta Bureau Chief James Keller. If you’re reading this on the web, or it was forwarded to you from someone else, you can sign up for it and all Globe newsletters here.