Kiwi solider dies in Ukraine

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A New Zealand soldier has died in the war between Ukraine and Russia.

He has become the latest foreign fighter and the first New Zealander to die in the war.

Cpl Dominic Abelen, 28, enlisted with Ukraine’s international legion, joining thousands of soldiers who have travelled to the conflict from around the world in the months since Ukraine’s government called for volunteers.

He had served in New Zealand’s army for 10 years. Abelen had previously deployed to Iraq and was based in Christchurch before he left for Ukraine.

He had not told the defence force he was travelling to Ukraine or sought its permission.

New Zealand’s military would not comment on the circumstances of Abelen’s death because he was not on active duty, but his commanding officer said he was well liked and respected.

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