French aid workers in Ukraine killed by ‘deliberate’ drone attack, Swiss NGO claims


The Swiss aid group HEKS said Tuesday that an investigation into the killing of two French staff in Ukraine had determined they died in a “deliberate” drone attack.

“Following the attack, the French and Ukrainian governments have opened a war crimes investigation,” HEKS said in a statement.

French nationals
The two men killed in the attack were HEKS senior security coordinator Guennadi Guermanovitch, 52, and Adrien Baudon de Mony-Pajol, 42, who headed the organisation’s home repair unit.

They had sought and received permission to travel from civilian and military authorities in the Kherson region.

They were travelling in two well-marked white vehicles emblazoned with the HEKS logo and a symbol indicating there were no weapons onboard, and they were all wearing helmets and bulletproof vests.

They had reached Beryslav – a small community on the banks of the Dnipro River near the frontline in Russia’s war in Ukraine.

‘Deliberate’ drone attack
But when they were leaving, “they were suddenly attacked by drones”, the statement said, adding that Guermanovitch and Pajol were fatally injured.

The HEKS investigation showed that its six staff, who had been sent to evaluate the humanitarian situation and determine what aid could be provided, had followed all security procedures.

The four other staff were hurt, but managed to carry their colleagues’ bodies and seek refuge in two nearby houses.

When night fell, they sought medical assistance at a local health centre, before they were taken to Kyiv for specialised treatment the next day, HEKS said.

The organisation said that the injured staff members were “doing well considering the circumstances”.

The three injured French nationals had returned to France, it said.

France has already accused Russia of responsibility for the 1 February strike in the Ukrainian town of Beryslav.

Four other staff – three French nationals and a Ukrainian – were injured in what the Swiss Church Aid group (HEKS) described as a “brutal and unjustifiable” attack.

On 2 February, French President Emmanuel Macron said on X that the attack had been “a Russian strike. A cowardly and outrageous act.”

The Russian ambassador to France was summoned to the foreign ministry over the deaths.


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