2 Americans killed while fighting Russian forces in Ukraine identified
▶ Watch Video: Two Americans killed fighting in eastern Ukraine
The two Americans who were recently killed fighting Russian troops in Ukraine have been identified as Luke Lucyszyn and Bryan Young, with their families confirming their deaths to CBS News.
Lucyszyn’s parents and Young’s wife confirmed their names on Sunday, after the State Department formally notified both families of their deaths. A department spokesperson originally said two Americans had been killed but declined to provide additional information “out of respect” for the families.
Lucyszyn and Young were among four foreigners who died while fighting alongside Ukrainian forces in the country’s disputed Donetsk region on July 18, Ukrainian commander Ruslan Miroshnichenko told Politico. The two others were identified as Swedish and Canadian citizens, he said, a detail he confirmed to CBS News.
Their unit was ambushed by Russian tanks after clearing a ravine where Russian troops were attempting to cross, according to Miroshnichenko, who told Politico that Lucyszyn was struck first and injured. The others were trying to help Lucyszyn when a second shell killed them all, he said.
Kathryn and George Lucyszyn spoke about the death of their 31-year-old son, who was a father of two, in an interview with NBC News. The North Carolina residents said Luke decided to start volunteering as a medic in Ukraine in early April, and had asked them to send supplies, like a tactical vest, after noting that his group lacked proper equipment.
“He didn’t go there to be a hero. He went there because he wanted to help people,” said Kathryn, whose husband is Ukrainian.
Lucyszyn and Young are at least the fifth and sixth Americans to die in Ukraine since the Russian invasion began. Their deaths came as the war entered its sixth month and Russia continued to launch attacks in different parts of the country.
A Russian missile strike against the port of Odesa on the Black Sea came only hours after Moscow and Kyiv signed a U.N.-supported agreement allowing grain exports to resume from there.
The strike was denounced by the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, which called the attack a “spit in the face.” The State Department said in a statement that the U.S. “strongly condemns” Russia’s actions, particularly in light of the new exports deal.
Holly Williams contributed reporting.