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Army veteran from N.Y. becomes second American killed in Ukrainian fighting

Army veteran from N.Y. becomes second American killed in Ukrainian fighting
A Ukrainian soldier walks past a part of a rocket near the front line in the city of Severodonetsk, Luhansk region, on June 2. The family of a former U.S. Army veteran confirmed his death in Ukraine in an obituary, becoming the second American killed there. Photo by EPA-EFE

June 21 (UPI) -- A U.S. Army veteran was confirmed as the second American killed in Ukraine fighting, his family said in an obituary that was confirmed by the State Department.

Stephen D. Zabielski, 52, a native of New York, was killed by a landmine on May 15. He is survived by a wife, five stepchildren and seven siblings. The obituary said he was fighting in the Ukrainian village of Dorozhniank when he died but did not give any additional details.

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A State Department official told the Washington Post that it has reached out to the family and has given "all possible consular assistance." Zabielski, who had also lived in Florida, worked in construction before traveling to Ukraine.

Tristan Nettles, a Marine veteran who fought with Zabielski while in Ukraine, told Rolling Stone magazine they were part of a squad of Western volunteers attached to the Ukrainian army called the Wolverines.

The group was made up of 13 English-speaking men, including eight Americans, all of whom had military experience.

In April, the family of former U.S. Marine and corrections officer Willy Joseph Cancel confirmed he was killed while fighting with the Ukraine military against Russia.

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Cancel, 22, was contracted with a private military firm when he agreed to travel to Ukraine, his mother, Rebecca Cabrera, said.

The families of Americans Alexander Drueke, 39, and Andy Huynh, 27, said they went missing earlier this month while they were fighting with Ukraine and are believed to have been captured by Russian forces.

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