NZ soldier killed in Ukraine while on leave from NZDF

The soldier, Corporal Dominic Abelen was on a period of leave without pay, and was not on active duty with the NZDF, it said.

Corporal Abelen, 28, served with 2nd/1st Battalion Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment (RNZIR) based in Burnham, and had served with the NZDF for 10 years.

The army would work closely with the soldier’s family to offer support, NZDF said.

It was trying to find out more information about the soldier’s death.

“At this early stage, there is still more information to be gathered in order to understand the circumstances fully,” a statement said.

“The NZDF is currently consolidating information and will look to release further information when possible, and as such will not be able to provide someone for interviews at this time.”

Minister of Defence Peeni Henare expressed his condolences.

“I express my condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of the New Zealand soldier who is reported to have died in Ukraine while on leave from the army. I have been advised the New Zealand Army are supporting the soldier’s family through this difficult time,” Henare said.

A support group for veterans, No Duff Charitable Trust, said in a statement that the soldier’s death in Ukraine was sad.

“Our condolences to the mates and whānau of the NZDF soldier killed there whilst on leave without pay.

“A sobering reminder of the risks that many NZ veterans who have gone to the Ukraine to fight on that nation’s behalf face.”

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