During fighting near Horlivka, Ukraine, two US citizens, Luke (Luka) Lutsyshyn and Brian Young — as well as Canadian citizen Emile-Antoine Rois-Sirois and Swede Edward Selander Patrignani — were killed.
The commander of the fallen fighters, Colonel Ruslan Miroshnychenko, said Lutsyshyn, whom his friends called Luke Skywalker after the character from the epic film “Star Wars”, was mortally wounded on July 18, 2022, near the city of Siversk in the Donbas region during shelling from a Russian tank. Then Young died when he rushed to help him. Comrades Rois-Sirois and Patrignani were killed by the same shot from a tank.
“Our Luke Skywalker. And Brian, and Emil, and Edward. They will forever remain our Warriors of Light and Goodness, Heroes of Ukraine. Brian, Edward and Emil died saving the wounded Luke…” Miroshnychenko wrote on his Facebook page.
Luke Lutsyshyn was a 31-year-old ex-policeman with a wife and two children, born and raised in New Jersey. He went to fight in Ukraine because he “felt responsible” for the homeland of his ancestors where his grandmother was born. Therefore, he felt close to his heritage. Yet, friends and relatives were very worried about Luke because he did not have the appropriate training.
Luke’s mother, Kathy Lutsyshyn, said that she was notified of her son’s death by the US State Department. She and his father, George, told NBC News their son had signed up as a volunteer in April. However, he fought in Ukraine not “to be a hero,” but “to help.” His parents tried to convince him to return, but he was adamant. During their final conversation last week, Lutsyshyn said that the fighters of his unit “do not have the necessary equipment.”
These are not the first deaths of American volunteers. The US State Department confirmed on June 22, 2022, that Steven Zabelski, 52, a US Marines veteran, died in May after stepping on a landmine. Three more Americans are reported dead and two are prisoners.
Alabama television station WBRC reported on July 22 that relatives of Alexander Druke and Andy Hein met virtually with US State Department officials. Druke and Hein were captured by Russian troops during hostilities east of Kharkiv and are currently in custody in occupied Donetsk. Department officials assured the families that the health, safety, and speedy return of their loved ones to their homeland is a priority for American diplomats.
And on June 9, Russian-controlled courts sentenced three captured foreigners to death, despite the fact that they held the status of soldiers of the Ukraine Armed Forces. Convicts are held within occupied Donbas.
Consequently, John Kirby, the White House national security spokesman, said last month that “Ukraine is not a place for Americans to travel,” and that if Americans want to help, “there are many ways to do it more safely and just as effectively.”
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