Statement, 08. February 2024

Tribute to employees killed in Ukraine

This Thursday, HEKS/EPER paid tribute to its two employees who were killed last week in Beryslav, in the south-east of Ukraine, while carrying out their humanitarian work. The commemoration ceremony was also broadcast via screens around the world so that the colleagues of the deceased could all join in a minute's silence for these dedicated humanitarian workers.

Guennadi Guermanovitch (52) leaves behind three sons. He was a French citizen and had been working as Senior Security Coordinator for HEKS/EPER in Ukraine since September 2022. In this role, he secured all staff travel and all emergency aid activities. His multilingualism, expertise, seriousness and commitment were recognised by his colleagues and the humanitarian community: Qualities that are crucial for ensuring the distribution of vital goods to victims of war. His colleagues will always remember Guennadi's big heart, courage and dedication with appreciation and gratitude.

Guennadi
HEKS

Adrien Baudon de Mony-Pajol (42) was also French and joined HEKS/EPER in June 2023. After an induction period, he was entrusted with the programme to repair houses and find emergency accommodation. He visited various war-damaged areas and assessed the needs of the residents in order to provide them with the necessary building materials. In this way, he helped to repair and insulate numerous buildings and enabled families to protect themselves from the cold of winter. His colleagues particularly appreciated Adrien's commitment, his sense of humour and his motivation. 

Adrien
© Leslie Moulin

The four staff members injured in the attack on 1 February - three French nationals and one Ukrainian - have been treated and their health is in stable condition.

The Board of Trustees, the Executive Board and all employees of HEKS/EPER send their sincere condolences to the families and loved ones of its deceased colleagues and its thoughts are with them. It also expresses its deepest sympathy to the injured colleagues and their families.   

HEKS/EPER strongly condemns this brutal and unjustifiable attack, which constitutes a serious violation of international humanitarian law. The exact circumstances of the attack are not yet clear; however, we are doing everything we can to clarify open questions and understand the background to this tragic incident in more detail. We will inform you as soon as new information becomes available.  

HEKS/EPER is doing everything in its power to continue its humanitarian work in the service of those most in need in Ukraine. The many messages of support we have received from all over the world encourage us in this vital work for many of the victims of the war in Ukraine.

Dieter Wüthrich
Editor and media spokesman
Dieter Wüthrich

Mobile: +41 76 461 88 70
E-Mail: dieter.wuethrich@heks.ch

Older version

Statement, 03. February 2024

HEKS mourns the deaths of its employees in Ukraine 

As already reported yesterday afternoon, on Thursday 1 February, a team of HEKS/EPER employees was the victim of a brutal and unjustifiable attack during a humanitarian mission in south-eastern Ukraine. Two of our valued colleagues lost their lives in this attack. Both deceased were French citizens. It is with great sadness and deep dismay that we extend our sympathy to the families and friends of our two colleagues in these difficult hours. We offer them our sincere condolences and our thoughts are with them.

Four other HEKS/EPER employees, three French and one Ukrainian, were injured in the attack. They have since been taken to a hospital outside the immediate danger zone, where they are receiving competent medical treatment. The injured employees are also receiving psychological support. We wish our colleagues a speedy recovery.

The exact circumstances of the attack are not yet clear; however, we are doing everything we can to clarify open questions and understand the background to this tragic incident in more detail. We will inform you as soon as new information becomes available.

Since the beginning of the Russian war of aggression two years ago, HEKS/EPER has been providing humanitarian aid, both in Ukraine itself and in neighbouring countries, where tens of thousands of Ukrainians have fled because of the war.
 

Older versions

Statement, 02. February 2024

Tragic Incident – Attack on HEKS Colleagues in Ukraine 

It is with deep sorrow that we share this devastating news regarding a fatal incident that occurred on February 1st, 2024 in the southeast of Ukraine. At approximately 2:30 PM, an attack targeted HEKS/EPER employees during a field assessment, resulting in the tragic loss of two dear colleagues and injuries to others. 

Our hearts go out to the families and friends of our dear colleagues. We offer our sincere condolences and our thoughts are with them during this incredibly difficult time.

A dedicated task force in the HEKS/EPER head office in Zurich is working tirelessly to ensure the safe evacuation of the affected employees. Support is being provided to all staff involved and every effort is being made to assist their families.

HEKS/EPER strongly condemns this vicious, unjustifiable attack and serious violation of international humanitarian law.

Further communication will follow as soon as more information is available.