Wednesday 22 June 2022 - 08:26

Second American killed in Ukraine combat: US State Department

Story Code : 1000495
Ukrainian servicemen stand in the village of Lukyanivka outside Kyiv, as Russia
Ukrainian servicemen stand in the village of Lukyanivka outside Kyiv, as Russia's invasion of Ukraine continues, Ukraine, March 27, 2022.

A State Department official said on Tuesday US citizen Stephen Zabielski of Hernando, Florida, died in Ukraine, without offering any further details.

State Department officials “have been in touch with the family and have provided all possible consular assistance,” the official added.

“We once again reiterate US citizens should not travel to Ukraine due to the active armed conflict and the singling out of US citizens in Ukraine by Russian government security officials,” the official said.

“US citizens in Ukraine should depart immediately if it is safe to do so using any commercial or other privately available ground transportation options.”

A local news outlet The Recorder published the obituary of Zabielski, 52, who it said died while fighting in the village of Dorozhniank.

He is formerly of Cranesville, New York and “enjoyed life.”

Russia said last week that two Americans were captured while fighting with Ukraine's military.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called them "mercenaries" who were engaged in illegal activities and should be "held accountable for those crimes.”

Peskov said the detained men are not covered by the Geneva Conventions as they are not regular troops.

"They're soldiers of fortune and they were involved in illegal activities on the territory of Ukraine. They were involved in firing and shelling our military personnel. They were endangering their lives," he said.

According to the Interfax news agency, the two Americans were currently in the Russian-backed separatist region of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine.

The two men have been identified as Andy Huynh and Alexander Drueke, both from Alabama. Britons Shaun Pinner and Aiden Aslin and Morrocan citizens.

Ukraine has been at war with Russia since President Vladimir Putin declared a military operation in the neighboring country in late February, following Kiev’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements and Moscow’s recognition of the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.
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