US confirms death of second Ukrainian citizen – News

According to the media, Stephen Zabielski, 52, was killed while fighting the war in the village of Dorozhniank



Ukrainian soldiers position a US-supplied M777 howitzer to fire at Russian positions in Ukraine’s Donbass region. —AP

By AFP

Published: Tue, Jun 21, 2022, 8:52 PM

The United States confirmed on Tuesday that a second American had been killed fighting for Ukraine, as it warned of the risks amid concerns over two other American citizens captured fighting Russia.

The State Department said Stephen Zabielski, 52, died in Ukraine and was providing his family with consular assistance.

“We reiterate once again that U.S. citizens should not travel to Ukraine due to the active armed conflict and the singling out of U.S. citizens in Ukraine by Russian government security officials,” a spokesperson said. from the State Department.

The spokesperson called on U.S. citizens in Ukraine to “depart immediately if safe to do so using any available commercial or private ground transportation option.”

Zabielski is the second known American to be killed fighting for Ukraine since the war began.

A 22-year-old former Marine, Willy Joseph Cancel, was confirmed as the first American killed fighting for Ukraine in late April.

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A newspaper in upstate New York, where Zabielski lived, published an obituary saying he died May 15 “while fighting the war in the village of Dorozhniank, Ukraine.”

Zabielski, who went by Steve, was employed in construction for 30 years and was survived by a wife and five stepchildren, the obituary in The Recorder said.

“Steve has enjoyed life to the fullest. He loved to hunt, fish and ride his Harley,” he said.

The obituary says he was born in Amsterdam, New York, near the state capital, Albany, and lived in the area until 2018 before moving to Florida.

The death was confirmed amid fears in the United States that two American military veterans were volunteering for Ukraine and were captured earlier this month in the war-ravaged east of the country.

Alexander Drueke and Andy Huynh, who both lived in Alabama, were seen in videos released by Russian state media, but their whereabouts were unknown.

The State Department said Russia is required to treat the volunteers humanely as it would other prisoners of war, in accordance with the Geneva Conventions.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov in an interview with NBC News published on Monday called them “soldiers of fortune” and said they should be “held accountable for the crimes they committed.”

Peskov also said the Geneva Conventions would not apply to the pair.

Reacting to Peskov’s remarks, a senior US official said on Tuesday: “We obviously disagree vigorously.

The official said Russia has yet to provide any direct information about the pair.

In communication with Russia, the official said: “One of the questions was – who, if any, do you have and where are they? And if you have someone, you are obliged to treat them according to the Geneva Conventions.

Christi C. Elwood