Australian dad-of-three killed in Ukraine: 'Luck ran out'

An Australian dad-of-three has been killed in Ukraine while assisting the war-torn country in its fight against Russia.

Michael O'Neill, 47, was providing humanitarian aid when he was wounded and killed on Wednesday.

The Tasmania man "had been driving trucks in Ukraine to help civilians flee the country as well as helping transport the wounded", his sister shared on Facebook.

"Unfortunately meeting a sad end," she wrote.

Tasmanian man Mick Charles O’Neill died in Ukraine while offering humanitarian assistance. Source: Facebook
Tasmanian man Mick Charles O’Neill died in Ukraine while offering humanitarian assistance. Source: Facebook

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese confirmed the news on Saturday, saying Mr O'Neill's death was a tragedy.

"I want to give my condolences to the family of the man involved," Mr Albanese said.

"The family has requested that their privacy be respected and I ask the media to do that."

A spokeswoman for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said they are "providing consular assistance to the family of an Australian killed in Ukraine", the ABC reports.

The exact details of where and how Mr O’Neill was killed have not been released, but it is expected DFAT will soon release a statement.

A woman walks past a destroyed building. The city of Bakhmut, called Artemivsk from 1924 until 2016, is the administrative center of Bakhmut district and is located in the Donetsk region. Located on the Bakhmutka River, tributary of the Donets River, has about 80.000 inhabitants. During the last weeks suffered several attacks and shelling from Russian army, the majority of the population left the city, the frontline is only 8 km away. (Photo by Rick Mave / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
Russia first invaded Ukraine in February. Source: AAP

Family pay tribute to Aussie dad: 'Always a battler'

Mr O'Neill has been remembered by his family as a "larrikin" who was "always a battler".

He mostly divided his time between Tasmania and the Philippines, where two of his kids live. He also has a daughter in Melbourne, his sister said.

In a post on Facebook, the Aussie dad's mum shared the tragic news with friends and family.

"He went over to help as a volunteer and if you knew him he wouldn't have been content not to get fully involved," she wrote.

"He trained to be a soldier and ended up in the war zone where the Ukraine army came under very heavy fire and Michael's luck ran out."

A death notice published in Tasmanian newspaper The Hobart Mercury said Michael O'Neill left behind five brothers and sisters.

Mr O’Neill smiling and holding a beer.
Mr O’Neill leaves behind three children. Source: Facebook

PM speaks of 'immoral attack' on Ukraine

Russia invaded Ukraine in February, with allegations of war crimes made against the federation's troops since the invasion.

During his trip to the Quad leaders' meeting on Tuesday, Mr Albanese said he had expressed Australia's view that the Russian "unilateral, illegal, immoral attack" on the people of Ukraine was an "outrage".

"The atrocities which are being committed on innocent civilians is something that we couldn't have expected in the 21st century," he told reporters after the meeting.

Earlier this month, then-foreign minister Marise Payne announced further sanctions on high-profile Russians, including media personalities and military higher-ups.

with AAP

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