Ukrainian lawmaker pays tribute to family of fallen Taiwanese combatant
Istanbul, Nov. 4 (CNA) Ukrainian parliamentarian Oleksandr Merezhko on Friday paid a heartfelt tribute to the bereaved family of a Taiwanese volunteer combatant who was killed earlier this week while fighting the Russians in Ukraine.
Tseng Sheng-guang (曾聖光), a 25-year-old Hualien native and a member of the International Legion of Ukraine's territorial defense forces, was reportedly killed in action on Wednesday, becoming the first Taiwanese combatant to die in the country's war with Russia.
"We're grateful, first of all to him who had made this ultimate sacrifice, and we're grateful to you [his family], who raised him and supported him as a very moral, very brave, right person," Merezhko told CNA.
Merezhko, who heads the Ukrainian Parliament's Committee on Foreign Policy and Interparliamentary Cooperation, thanked Tseng for sacrificing his life in the name of Ukraine, as the country fights for freedom and democracy.
"He did everything he could to save us, to support us, to defend us. He was one of our defenders, one of our guardian angels," he said, describing Tseng as a Taiwanese brother who had shed his blood on Ukrainian soil.
"Ukrainians and Taiwanese sacrifice their lives in the name of freedom. That's why it has very profound symbolic meaning to us Ukrainians," he added.
Merezhko said he has already spoken to his colleagues about what they can do to help Tseng's family when they come to Ukraine to see him one last time.
"We are expecting and we welcome the wife, the mother and the sister of the Ukrainian Taiwanese soldier who died. And we would also like to pay our respect to his relatives when they complete the final journey when they come to Ukraine," the lawmaker said.
Born in Ji'an Township in Hualien County, Tseng flew to Ukraine to join the International Legion in June soon after his recruitment was approved, Tseng's wife Huang Li-chen (黃麗珍) told CNA Friday evening.
Tseng had originally planned to enlist with the International Legion in March, but he canceled the plan when Ukraine temporarily suspended recruiting foreign volunteers, she said.
In September, Tseng became a member of the Carpathian Sich Battalion, an infantry unit of foreign and Ukrainian volunteers, according to Ukraine's military.
Tseng had kept regular contact with his wife. Huang said her last contact with Tseng was on Oct. 23, when her husband told her he would be on a mission for five days.
But she didn't receive any news from him six days after his mission was over and was worried for his safety, she said.
She later received a message from her husband's comrade that he had died due to excessive blood loss after being seriously wounded on the battlefield in the contested Luhansk region.
In a Facebook post, a member of the Ukraine + Taiwan Forum Arthur Kharytonov said they will do their best to ensure that the memory of Tseng will remain in the history of Ukraine.
"We definitely would like to assist with everything we can do," Kharytonov said, indicating that they will see what they can do to assist the Taiwan-Ukraine hero's family once all the information is received.
As of press time Saturday morning, Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said it is currently verifying the sources and will provide the family with all necessary assistance.
MOFA said it has already reached out to Tseng's family and that further information will be disclosed in due course.
According to Merezhko, citing a report he read in one of the American newspapers, there were 10 Taiwanese citizens fighting on the frontline in Ukraine.
Nov. 8: Family of Taiwanese man killed in Ukraine war leaves to bring him home
Nov. 4: Hualien man becomes 1st Taiwanese combatant to die in Ukraine war
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