Second American killed in Ukraine combat: US State Department

The US Department of State has confirmed a second American citizen has died while fighting against Russians in Ukraine.

A State Department official said on Tuesday US citizen Stephen Zabielski of Hernando, Florida, died in Ukraine, without offering any further details.

State Department officials “have been in touch with the family and have provided all possible consular assistance,” the official added.

“We once again reiterate US citizens should not travel to Ukraine due to the active armed conflict and the singling out of US citizens in Ukraine by Russian government security officials,” the official said.

“US citizens in Ukraine should depart immediately if it is safe to do so using any commercial or other privately available ground transportation options.”

A local news outlet The Recorder published the obituary of Zabielski, 52, who it said died while fighting in the village of Dorozhniank.

He is formerly of Cranesville, New York and “enjoyed life.”

Russia said last week that two Americans were captured while fighting with Ukraine’s military.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called them “mercenaries” who were engaged in illegal activities and should be “held accountable for those crimes.”

Peskov said the detained men are not covered by the Geneva Conventions as they are not regular troops.

“They’re soldiers of fortune and they were involved in illegal activities on the territory of Ukraine. They were involved in firing and shelling our military personnel. They were endangering their lives,” he said.

According to the Interfax news agency, the two Americans were currently in the Russian-backed separatist region of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine.

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