University of Bristol medic who died in Ukraine ‘devoted her life to helping others’

Katherine Mielniczuk died on Christmas Eve Credit: PA

A British woman who died as a combat medic in Ukraine “devoted her life to helping others”, her family has said.

Katherine Mielniczuk went to Ukraine after Russia’s full-scale invasion in 2022, compelled to use her medical skills to help those in need.

The 26-year-old, who graduated in chemistry at the University of Bristol, spent almost two years risking her life to provide medical supplies and emergency care to injured Ukrainian and foreign fighters, travelling to the most volatile stretches of the frontline and earning herself the nickname “Apache”.

She died in the early hours of Christmas Eve in eastern Ukraine, her family said on Friday 29 December.

Ms Mielniczuk was an ‘inspiration in resilience and grace’ her family said Credit: Family handout/PA

Her death is not being treated as suspicious.

Ms Mielniczuk's family has said she was an “inspiration in resilience and grace” and the “kindest and most selfless person one could hope to meet.”

An online fundraiser has so far garnered almost £3,000 of £10,000 to repatriate Ms Mielniczuk, also known as Kasia, to the UK.

In a tribute to Kasia, her family said: “It is impossible to truly convey what an incredible woman Katherine was or how deeply and widely she was loved and will be missed.

“Kasia is gone, but the endless warmth, love and grace she brought to the world will never be lost”.

The 26-year-old spent almost two years risking her life to provide care to injured Ukrainian and foreign fighters Credit: Family handout/PA

In a Facebook post on December 23, a day before her death, Ms Mielniczuk asked her followers to keep Ukrainian volunteers in their thoughts.

She wrote: “The mental, physical, and financial consequences of war are catastrophic and a kind word can hold tremendous power for us when we are losing hope and seeing tragedies daily.

“We prioritise fighting for a free Ukraine, for a prosperous and fruitful future for Ukrainian children.”

In response, a spokesperson for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said: “We are supporting the family of a British woman who died in Ukraine and are in touch with the local authorities.”