A second US citizen has died fighting the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the US State Department has confirmed.
Stephen Zabielski, 52, was killed in fighting on May 15, according to an obituary first published in an upstate New York newspaper, recorder, June 1.
Zabielski, who was from New York, died after stepping on a landmine, reports rolling stone, citing sources. He is survived by his wife, five stepchildren and one grandchild.
In a statement, a State Department spokesperson said the government had been in contact with his family and provided “all consular assistance possible.”
The spokesperson also reiterated the Biden administration’s stance warning U.S. citizens not to travel to Ukraine because of the conflict, and the possibility of Russian soldiers singling them out. He also added that all Ukrainian citizens should leave immediately.
Zabielski worked with a group of Western volunteers, attached to the Ukrainian army. He served alongside 13 English-speaking men in a combat squad called the Wolverines, said Tristan Nettles, a Marine Corps veteran, who says he was with Zabielski when he was killed.
Each band member toured Iraq, he said Rolling stone.
News of Zabielski’s death comes after several US fighters went missing in Ukraine, one of whom was confirmed dead.
In April, Willy Joseph Cancel Jr, a 22-year-old former US Marine, lost his life fighting alongside Ukrainian forces. He flew to Poland on March 12 and crossed into Ukraine within two days, his mother Rebecca Cabrera said.
“He wanted to go there because he believed in what Ukraine was fighting for, and he wanted to be part of it to contain it there so that it doesn’t come here, and that maybe our American soldiers wouldn’t have to be involved in it,” she told UKTN.
Last Monday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed that Russia detained two Americans – Andy Huynh, 27, and Alexander Drueke, 39 – as they fought for the Ukrainian side.
Additional reports by agencies
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