A DECOMPOSING body was found in Ukraine near the war frontline as cops searched for the missing British ex-soldier Daniel Burke.
Detectives unearthed the human remains but claimed they were too decayed to visually identify.
Former British soldier Daniel Burke, 36, was last seen in Zaporizhzia on August 11, more than 15 miles from the closest frontline.
A police source said the investigators were keeping an open mind and still pursuing all lines of enquiry.
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The unit began the commando-style raid after troops from Ukraine’s 28th Brigade gave them an £80,000 fire-and-forget missile.
Body cam footage showed the four-man team creeping up to a ridge line to fire the US-made guided weapon.
But Burke had later shifted his focus to rescue missions and evacuated stranded civilians from bomb-blitzed eastern Bakhmut and the Zaporizhzhia frontline.
Friends now fear he may have been murdered after another British fighter Jordan Chadwick, a former Scots Guards soldier, was found dumped in a body of water with his hands tied behind his back in June.
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The cases have not been formally linked.
Police discovered the human remains as a result of a tip-off, a source said.
They did not disclose the precise location but said it was in the Zaporizhzhia district.
A police source said: “We will need to do a DNA analysis to understand if this is Daniel Burke.
“Daniel has been missing for five weeks, it is possible this body has been there for much longer, so it might not be him.
“We are keeping an open mind and still actively pursuing other lines of our enquiry.”
Burke met The Sun in Zaporizhzhia 36 hours before he disappeared and at the time he seemed in good spirits.
He said he had regular income from a wealthy female donor in the USA.
Daniel’s friend Sam Newey, 22, was also killed on the frontline in August two weeks after Burke vanished.
Sources close to his foreign fighters unit said the bloody trench action became so intense that troops were battling hand-to-hand before Sam was blown up on August 30.
Sam had been fighting in one of the most dangerous pockets of the Ukraine frontline for eight months.
His older brother Dan, also from Solihull, Birmingham, had been battling alongside him but had recently returned to the UK.
Sam was studying psychology at the University of Birmingham and had no previous military experience when he decided to join the fight against Putin’s troops.
He decided to follow his brother’s example to fight another man’s war and joined Burke – and old family friend – as a member of The Dark Angels.
Mr Abdelfetah said they returned to the city that evening and he dropped Burke off at his apartment.
Police searched the flat in the city and found no signs of a break-in or a struggle.
Bizarrely, a social media account linked to Burke’s Ukrainian mobile number, said he was “last seen” on Monday.
Burke served in the 3rd Battalion, the Parachute Regiment, from 2007 to 2009 and later volunteered to fight against Islamic State terrorists in Syria, in 2017.
Burke’s father Kevin said his son’s unexplained disappearance had been “devastating”.
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He said: “The worst thing is not knowing.
“It is completely out of character for Daniel to just disappear like this and we are really grateful to the police in Zaporizhzhia for their efforts to investigate so many different lines of enquiry.”