Stephen Zabilski has become the latest US citizen killed in the Ukraine war as the focus is on foreigners volunteering to take up arms against Russian aggression.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky in February called on people to join the “international military” to fight against Russia, but the deaths of American fighters and the capture of other American citizens expose the risks they face.
Last week, President Joe Biden said “Americans should no longer go to Ukraine” as US officials try to discourage their citizens from engaging in war, citing security risks and limited ability to assist when things go wrong. Huh.
However, Macar Gifford, a Briton who has facilitated Westerners visiting Ukraine to help his military, has said that threats from Americans wanting to fight in Ukraine are unlikely.
“At the end of the day, if you’re afraid of dying, you have no business in Ukraine,” he said. newsweek With an “absolutely dastardly” casualty rate of up to 50 percent.
After helping with the training of Ukraine’s military and speaking to frontline returnees, Gifford said, “Death is very much a part of life.”
“If you are privileged to be an American person, wherever you come from a safe, peaceful democratic country, and you choose to go and join the Ukrainian military to fight, it becomes clear very quickly. That’s what terrible conditions are,” he told newsweek,
“If you’re afraid of that situation, or if you have any doubts in your mind, you’ll just pack your bags and leave those who have stayed and keep fighting.”
The US State Department has said it is investigating reports of US veterans being captured by Russian forces.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov suggested this week that soldiers captured by a court in the separatist Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) receive the same death sentence to Britons Aiden Aslin (aged 28) and Shaun Pinner (aged 48). can.
“The idea that the Russians can capture them and execute them is not a deterrent,” Gifford said, adding that he has already made his decision that if they are fighting, they are already on the front lines. .
The US State Department confirmed Zebilski’s death on Tuesday. An obituary in his local newspaper, recorderwhich covers Montgomery County in Upstate New York, Told The 52-year-old was murdered on May 15 in the village of Dorozhniyak.
He had worked in the construction industry, was a US Army veteran and was killed by a landmine, according to Rolling stone, A State Department spokesman said Washington Post It was providing “all possible consular assistance” to the family of Zabilski.
A graduate of Amsterdam High School, Zebilski “enjoyed life to the fullest” which included “hunting, fishing and riding his Harley”, his death notice stated.
Zebilski is survived by his wife, five stepchildren, seven siblings and a grandson, and “will be missed by all who knew and loved him,” the obituary added.
Former US Marine Willie Joseph Cansil, 22, of Tennessee, became the first American to be pronounced dead in Ukraine. He was killed on April 25 while fighting with the Kyiv army, his family told CNN.
Cancel’s mother, Rebecca Cabrera, told the network that she was working with a private military company, which she did not name and was being paid while fighting there.
She said her son went to Poland on March 12 and went to Ukraine soon after. “He wanted to finish because he believed what Ukraine was fighting for.”
The circumstances of her death were not immediately clear, and her body had not yet been recovered, she said in April.
Canceled leaves behind a widow and a seven-month-old son. President Biden expresses his condolences to the family described His death as “very sad”.
the americans captured
Alexander Drucke, 39, and Andy Tai Huinh, 27, of Alabama, were last seen near the northeastern city of Kharkiv.
Drucke is a former Army Staff Sergeant who served in Iraq and Kuwait, while Huynh is a former Marine Corporal posted to the Pacific.
The two are believed to have separated from their Ukrainian army squad near Kharkiv and surrendered after being found by Russian patrols, according to Russian broadcaster RT.
When asked by NBC whether the couple could face the death penalty, Peskov replied “It depends on the investigation.” Meanwhile, Russian state television is capturing much of them, accusing them of being “mercenaries” rather than volunteers.
This would mean that they would not be eligible for the protection of prisoners of war under the Geneva Convention.
A State Department spokesman said newsweek On Tuesday, Russia “must meet its international obligations in the treatment of any person, including those captured in Ukraine.”
Meanwhile, former US Marine Corps officer Grady Kurpaci has not been traced since April 23. The State Department said a third American had gone missing, without saying who.
However, Qurpasi’s wife Heeson Kim confirmed to CNN, it was her 49-year-old husband’s identity. Kurpasi arrived in Ukraine on 7 March, believing that his skills and experience would help in the fight against Russia.
Family friend George Heath told the network that he went to Kyiv on March 21, and was tasked with posting an observation post near Kherson in late April, along with other members of the Foreign Legion.
He then stopped talking to his wife and friends in the US
The deaths of Americans from non-combatants have also been widely reported.
On March 17, James Whitney Hill, 67, was killed in an attack on civilians waiting at a bread line in the northern city of Chernihiv, his sister Cheryl Hill Gordon said.
He was trying to get food for himself, his partner and other very sick patients at the Chernihiv Regional Hospital, she told Washington Post,
Also in March, East new York Times Contributor Brent Reynaud, 51, was fatally shot in the neck. The journalist, 51, who worked for NBC, Vice News and HBO, died when Russian soldiers opened fire on a car near a bridge in the Ukrainian city of Irpin.