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Ashes of fallen Taiwanese warrior who fought for Ukraine return home

2022-12-02
Focus Taiwan
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From left: Tseng's sister, mother and wife are pictured at the news conference held at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport on Wednesday. CNA photo Nov. 30, 2022
From left: Tseng's sister, mother and wife are pictured at the news conference held at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport on Wednesday. CNA photo Nov. 30, 2022

Taipei, Nov. 30 (CNA) The ashes of Tseng Sheng-guang (曾聖光), a Taiwanese man who died on Nov. 2 fighting for Ukraine against Russia, were returned to Taiwan Wednesday.

Tseng's mother, older sister and wife brought his ashes back to Taiwan onboard Emirates EK366. The Armed Forces of Ukraine had earlier informed CNA they intended to cremate Tseng and that his ashes would be returned to Taiwan through the Taipei Representative Office in Poland, as the nation does not have a representative office in Ukraine.

Tseng, 25, was an indigenous Amis from Hualien County. He joined the International Legion of Ukraine's territorial defense forces and died on the battlefield in Lyman, part of the contested Luhansk region, making him the first Taiwanese volunteer to die in the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war. He served in the Republic of China (Taiwan) Army from 2017 to 2021.

"Sheng-guang my boy, I want you to know that you were very brave, you will always be my baby, and I'm proud of you," Tseng's mother told a news conference in the Taoyuan International Airport reception lounge assigned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA).

After seeing Ukrainian civilians, women and children suffer from the war in Ukraine, Tseng "couldn't sit idly by," she said.

"Some would rather die than live in a world rife with injustice. That's Tseng Sheng-guang. That's why he chose to go to Ukraine," she said.

She thanked MOFA for arranging and accompanying her family on the trip to Ukraine, so they could attend the farewell ceremony held for Tseng at a church in Lviv.

During the trip they also met with Tseng's comrades and superiors, who described his valor and selflessness on the battlefield, which made her mournful but proud, Tseng's mother said.

In a statement, MOFA said that on Nov. 7 it updated the passports for Tseng's family and the Taiwan Representative Office in Poland helped them obtain the necessary visas.

The farewell ceremony was held on Nov. 14 in Lviv, after which Tseng's body was cremated and brought back to Taiwan in accordance with the wishes of his family.

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