The two Americans killed by Russian fire in Ukraine a week ago were identified in reports over the weekend as Luke “Skywalker” Lucyszyn and Bryan Young.
The volunteer soldiers were killed in the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine on July 18, reportedly ambushed by Russian tanks, their commander Ruslan Miroshnichenko confirmed to Politico Sunday.
Lucyszyn was a 31-year-old father of two who first went to Ukraine to be a medic, his parents told NBC News. “He didn’t go there to be a hero. He went there because he wanted to help people,” his mother said.
Young was born in 1971 and was an “American military man” who went to fight in Ukraine because he “took an oath to protect the free world,” Miroshnichenko told Politico.
Canadian Emile-Antoine Roy-Sirois and Swede Edvard Selander Patrignani were also killed while fighting with the special ops unit of the Territorial Defense of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
A State Department spokesperson on Sunday confirmed the deaths to The Hill, and said the families have been contacted. Out of respect for the families, they said, more information about the deaths would not be released at this time.
Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in early June that Ukraine is losing 100 soldiers each day, with about 300 wounded each day. CIA Director William Burns estimated this week that 15,000 Russians have died in Ukraine and some 45,000 have been wounded.
As Russia continues to gain ground in the east five months into the war, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has called on the international community to help him end the war by December of this year.
“Even the occupiers admit that we will win,” Zelensky said Sunday in his daily address to Ukrainians. “Therefore, we do not slow down and, as every day for five months, we are doing everything to inflict the greatest possible losses on the enemy and to gather as much support as possible for Ukraine.”