Willy Joseph Cancel, 22, had signed up with a private military contractor to fight in Ukraine alongside other volunteers.
A former United States Marine has died fighting alongside Ukrainian forces in the war with Russia, his relatives told the media, in the first known death of a fighting American citizen. Russian forces in Ukraine.
Rebecca Cabrera told CNN that her son, Willy Joseph Cancel, 22, was killed Monday while working for a private military contracting company that sent him to Ukraine.
Cabrera said her son had been working as a corrections officer in Tennessee and had signed up to work with the private military contractor shortly before the struggle started in Ukraine at the end of February. She told CNN that he agreed to go to Ukraine.
“I wanted to go because I believed in what Ukraine was fighting for, and I wanted to be a part of that to contain it there from coming here, and that maybe our American soldiers wouldn’t have to be involved. in it,” he said.
When the war began, Ukraine formed combat groups of foreign volunteers made up of military veterans to supplement their regular forces. Thousands signed up and traveled to Ukraine through neighboring countries such as Poland.
Many were quickly thrown into the defense of kyivaccording to a report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC.
Cabrera said her son’s body has not been found.
“They haven’t found his body,” he said. “They are trying, the men who were with him, but they either grabbed his body or they killed him, but we would love for him to come back to us.”
He said his son flew to Poland on March 12 and entered the Ukraine shortly after. She said that she was fighting alongside men from various countries.
Cancel’s widow, Brittany Cancel, told Fox News that he leaves behind a young son and that she views her husband as a hero.
“My husband died in the Ukraine,” said Brittany Cancel. “He went there wanting to help people, he had always felt that this was his main mission in life.”
She said her husband volunteered to go to Ukraine and had aspirations to become a police officer or a firefighter.
“He had dreams and aspirations to be a police officer or join the FDNY,” he told Fox. “Naturally, when he heard about what was happening in Ukraine, he was eager to volunteer.”
The US government has not confirmed the reports. A State Department official said he was aware of the reports and that he was “closely monitoring the situation.”
“Due to privacy considerations, we have no further comment. We reiterate once again that US citizens should not travel to Ukraine due to the active armed conflict as US citizens in Ukraine have been flagged by Russian government security officials, and that US citizens in Ukraine should depart immediately if it is safe. do so using any commercial or other privately available ground transportation options,” the official said.