A young Irishman has been killed in action in Ukraine.
23-year-old Rory Mason was fighting with the International Legion for the Defence of Ukraine (ILDU) in Kharkiv.
The Meath man enlisted in the Ukrainian armed forces at the start of the war in March and he was killed on the front near the Russian border on September 28th.
'Devastated but proud'
In a statement, his family said they are ‘devastated but proud’.
His father Rob said he was a “private young man of drive, purpose and conviction”.
“Though we are deeply saddened at his death, we are enormously proud of his courage and determination and his selflessness in immediately enlisting to support Ukraine,” he said.
“Rory was never political but he had a deep sense of right and wrong and an inability to turn the other way in the face of injustice. He had a long-standing interest in Eastern Europe, in travel and in learning new languages, including Russian.
“Those who fought alongside Rory speak of a 'truly brave and courageous man who could have left at any time, but chose not to’.
“In the words of a colleague who served with him: ‘Rory was a man who, from a glance, could seem shy; however, when it came to actions and character he proved, again and again, he was a man of fortitude, principal and honour’.
“Rory was our son and we will miss him enormously. As our family is still trying to come to terms with Rory’s death, we would appeal for privacy at this difficult time.”
The ILDU said it was working with the Mason family to repatriate Rory’s remains.
“Rory’s memory will live on in his unit, in the legion and the Armed Forces of Ukraine,” it said.
Given Rory was killed on the front line of an active war zone, there is limited information available about how he died.
Rory grew up in Dunboyne and attended Dunboyne National School and St Peter's College, Dunboyne.
He is deeply missed by his heartbroken family, his parents Rob and Elizabeth and his younger brother (22) and sister (21).
They learned of his death through the Department of Foreign Affairs which is providing consular assistance.
Main image is a split-screen of 23-year-old Rory Mason and firefighters working at a bombed building in Kharkiv.