A second American has been killed while fighting on Kyiv’s side in Ukraine, the US Department of State confirmed for the US media but provided no detail out of respect for his family’s privacy apart from the fact that Department’s officials had provided all possible consular assistance to the family.
According to an obituary published in The Recorder at the beginning of the month, Stephen Zabielski (52) was killed in mid-May while fighting in the village of Dorozhniank, in southeastern Ukraine.
Several weeks ago, the former US Marine Willy Joseph Cancel was killed while fighting alongside Ukrainian forces.
The first to identify the killed American and the circumstances of his death was The Rolling Stone on Monday, and the Washington Post, but did not provide details Rolling Stone first reported on Monday.
Zabielski, a Persian Gulf War veteran who served in the army, died after reportedly triggering a tripwire while on a mine-clearing mission during which two other squad mates were seriously injured. They were all part of the so-called Wolverines squad of 13 English-speaking fighters with combat experience.
The squad was attached to a Ukrainian Army unit and was tasked with landmines’ marking before a planned Ukrainian assault on Russian forces.
Zabielski went to the bushes for observation with another American man and apparently triggered the tripwire of a landmine that killed him on the spot and ripped apart the lower legs of the other American.
During the evacuation efforts, their vehicle hit another landmine, leaving the driver, a Canadian citizen, with serious burns. Both the driver, who was flown home to the US, and the driver, who is still in Ukraine and is unable to walk, survived.
US media note that many Westerners, just like Zabielski, have been drawn into combat for Ukraine after Kyiv’s aggressive recruitment of Westerners with previous military experience for its International Legion for the Defense of Ukraine.