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US State Department confirms death of second American fighting in Ukraine

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The United States Department of State confirmed on Tuesday that a second American who volunteered to fight in Ukraine has died.

“We can confirm the death of U.S. citizen Stephen Zabielski in Ukraine,” a spokesperson for the State Department said. “We have been in touch with the family and have provided all possible consular assistance. Out of respect to the family during this difficult time, we have nothing further.”

It is believed 52 year old Zabielski died on May 15 while fighting alongside Ukrainian forces in the Village of Dorozhniank, Ukraine. According to his obituary in the Recorder, a local newspaper in Zabielski’s home state of New York, Zabielski is survived by his wife and five stepchildren. 

“Steve enjoyed life to the fullest. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, & riding his Harley. Steve will be missed by all who knew and loved him,” the obituary reads.

Zabielski is the second known American volunteer fighter who has been slain by Russian forces in Ukraine since the Kremlin’s invasion of its neighbor in February. Another American man, Marine Corps veteran Willy Cancel, was killed while fighting in Ukraine with a private military contracting company. 

Russian forces also confirmed in recent days that they have captured and detained two Americans who were also fighting voluntarily on the ground in Ukraine. According to the Kremlin, one of the detainees may face the death penalty for his alleged crimes. Alexander John-Robert Drueke, 39, from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and Andy Tai Ngoc Huynh, 27, from Hartselle, Alabama were fighting alongside Ukrainian forces when they were captured near Kharkiv.

A third American has been confirmed missing in action. US Marine veteran Grady Kurpasi has not been heard from since April, according to his family. He volunteered to fight in Ukraine, his family says, but did not initially think he would be on the front lines.

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