- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 21, 2014

A West Point graduate died Wednesday while fighting in an Ukrainian army unit near Donetsk. Mark Paslawsky, 55, graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 1981, but recently joined the Donbas volunteer battalion and has fought in the region since April.

Mr. Paslawsky, who went by “Franko” in a recent Vice News interview, told the news outlet “I’m of Ukrainian decent, and because of my parent’s background, I’m entitled to immediate Ukrainian citizenship. So before I joined the battalion, I took on Ukrainian citizenship so I’d fight as a Ukrainian.”

The former U.S. military officer and investment banker is said to have died in a “street battle” in Ilovaysk, the New York Times reported Wednesday.


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Ukraine is my second home,” Mr. Paslawsky recently told Ukraine’s Interior minister Anton Gerashchenko, Army Times reported. “I’m not going back to the United States. I love Ukraine and the duty of every citizen [is to] defend their homeland.”

When Mr. Paslawsky was asked by Vice News if he knew of any other Americans who were fighting in Ukraine, he said “I’m the only guy that I’ve met. I’m in a six-man squad. I’m just a private. I insisted on being a private. I carry a weapon. I do my part. I go everywhere the unit goes.”