US citizen Stephen Zabielski killed in Ukraine, State Department confirms
- Stephen Zabielski was reported dead earlier this month
- The 52-year-old reportedly tripped over a landmine
- 2 US citizens have reported dead in while fighting Russia in Ukraine
The United States Department of State confirmed the death of Stephen Zabielski, an American citizen who was fighting Russian forces in Ukraine. The 52-year-old was one of many American citizens who have taken up arms against Moscow's forces.
Stephen Zabielski is the second American who has died in the Russia- Ukraine conflict, which began on February 24, 2022. His death was confirmed by the State Department-issued obituary, which was published in the Recorder, a newspaper serving Montgomery County in Upstate New York.
Rolling Stone magazine had previously reported the death of Zabielski on Monday and cited multiple on-ground sources. The report suggested that Zabielski was a veteran of the US armed forces and was killed after he tripped over a landmine.
A spokesperson of the US State Department followed up on the obituary and confirmed Zabielski's death. His family has also been contacted and offered "all possible consular assistance", the spokesperson said, according to Reuters.
The statement from the State Department spokesperson also echoed previously- issued warnings. It urged American citizens to not travel to war-torn Ukraine. It also requested all American citizens to leave the eastern-European country.
Two US citizens from Alabama -- Andy Tai Ngoc Huynh and Alexander Drueke -- have been missing in Ukraine. The two had also picked up arms against Russian forces and are presumed to be held captive, according to Washington Post reports.
The US State Department said it was investigating unconfirmed reports that Russian or Russian-backed forces captured two American citizens and possibly a third. Anyone captured should be considered a prisoner of war and protected by guarantees of humane treatment and fair trials, said spokesman Ned Price.
It is unclear how many Americans have traveled overseas to assist Ukraine since fighting began in February but the number is believed to be in the hundreds, if not more.