National Security Council spokesman John Kirby warned Americans against traveling to Ukraine to fight in the war against Russia following the confirmed death of a second American in the war zone.
“We want to stress that this is not the place or time for Americans to go to Ukraine,” Mr. Kirby said at the daily White House briefing. “It is a war, and if you want to help the people of Ukraine there are a lot of other better options to do that than going to put yourself in harm’s way in the middle of that war.”
The State Department on Tuesday confirmed the death of Stephen Zabielski, an American citizen. It was the second confirmed death of an American who went to fight alongside Ukrainian fighters since the Russian invasion on Feb. 24.
Willy Joseph Cancel, a 22-year-old former U.S. Marine working for a private military contracting company, was killed fighting alongside Ukraine forces in April.
Mr. Zabielski, 52, of Hernando, Florida, was killed on May 15 while fighting in the village of Dorozhniank, Ukraine, according to an obituary in an upstate New York newspaper.
The news came a day after a Kremlin spokesperson said that two Americans who had been missing after joining the war effort in Ukraine had been taken into custody and would not be afforded protections granted to prisoners of war by the Geneva Conventions.
Mr. Kirby said the administration is still trying to learn more about these two individuals.
“It is appalling that a public official in Russia would even suggest the death penalty for two Americans citizens who were in Ukraine,” he said.