Two Americans believed to have been assisting Ukraine during Russia’s months-long invasion have died in the eastern part of the war-torn country, US officials said Friday night.
“We can confirm the recent deaths of two US citizens in the Donbas region of Ukraine,” a State Department spokesperson said, according to ABC News. “We are in touch with the families and providing all possible consular assistance.
“Out of respect to the families during this difficult time, we have nothing further.”
At least two other American volunteer fighters have been killed in Ukraine and two others have been captured by Russian forces.
Stephen Zabielski, 52, was killed in May in the village of Dorozhnyanka, Zaporizhzhia Oblast after stepping on a landmine.
The Gulf War veteran and married father of five accidentally touched a tripwire in thick vegetation and foggy conditions while on a mine-clearing mission, according to Tristan Nettles, a US Marine veteran who was with Zabielski the night he died, Rolling Stone reported.
Willy Joseph Cancel Jr., a 22-year-old retired US Marine, was killed in Ukraine in April, according to his mother.
Cancel, a father to a 7-month-old son at the time of his death, was hired to fight in Ukraine by a private military contracting company.
Alexander Drueke, 39, and Andy Huynh, 27 — both US military veterans from Alabama — are believed to have been captured near Kharkiv by Pro-Russian rebels and faced threats of the death penalty.
In a video interview recorded after the pair’s capture, an interrogator informs Huynh that he’s eligible for the death penalty under the laws of the republic.
Last month, the Donetsk People’s Republic in Donbas sentenced one Moroccan and two British fighters to death.
American civilians have also lost their lives in the armed conflict, now nearing its fifth month.
James Whitney Hill, 67, was killed in an attack on a Chernihiv bread line last month. He had been living in Ukraine and working as a teacher for 25 years, family members told The Post.
Former New York Times contributor Brent Renaud, 51, also was fatally shot in the neck by Russian troops in Irpin days before Hill’s death.