A U.S. citizen was killed in combat in Ukraine last month after becoming one of thousands of foreign fighters to take up arms against Russian forces in the wake of Moscow’s invasion, the State Department said.
The death was first announced in an obituary published in The Recorder, an upstate New York newspaper, with the slain American identified as Stephen Zabielski, 52, of Hernando, Florida. He previously lived in Cranesville, New York, the newspaper reported.
According to the obituary, Zabielski was killed May 15 while fighting in the village of Dorozhniank, Ukraine.
The obituary described Zabielski as someone who “enjoyed life to the fullest.”
“He enjoyed hunting, fishing, & riding his Harley. Steve will be missed by all who knew and loved him,” it said, adding that he had worked in the construction industry for over 30 years.
Zabielski is survived by his wife, five stepchildren, seven siblings and other family members.
The State Department confirmed his death in a statement shared with NBC News. It said it had already been in touch with Zabielski’s family and provided all possible consular assistance.
The State Department also repeated warnings advising U.S. citizens against traveling to Ukraine amid Russia’s invasion, which was launched on Feb. 24. It said that any U.S. citizens still in Ukraine should leave immediately.
Source : NBC News