Canadian commander of volunteer fighter group dies in Ukraine

A Canadian-born commander of the so-called Norman Brigade – a volunteer fighting group in Ukraine – has died.

The news was first circulated through online chatrooms and social media posts and later shared by Russian state-owned outlet Sputnik.

Jean-Francois Ratelle, 36, was also known by the call sign “Hrulf.”

Global Affairs Canada said it is aware that a Canadian has died in Ukraine, but would not provide his name, nor the cause of death.

“Our hearts go out to his family and loved ones at this very difficult time,” wrote spokesperson Grantly Franklin. “Consular officials are in contact with local authorities for further information and are providing consular assistance to the family.”

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