Ukrainian Commander Details Ambush that Killed 2 Americans

Identities confirmed by State Department
By Mike L. Ford,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 25, 2022 4:12 PM CDT
Two American Fighters Killed in Ukraine Have Been Identified
In this grab taken from video and released by the Russian Defense Ministry Press Service on Saturday, July 2, 2022, a Russian tank fires at a target in an undisclosed location in Ukraine.   (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP)

The US State Department and families have confirmed the identities of two American citizens killed in combat in Ukraine this month. Per the Guardian, Luke "Skywalker" Lusyszyn and Bryan Young both died July 18 after being ambushed by Russian tanks. Two other foreigner fighters—Emile-Antoine Roy-Sirois of Canada and Swedish citizen Edvard Selander Patrignani—died in the same incident. In an interview with Politico, their commander, Ruslan Miroshnichenko, explained that the men were in a special forces unit based in the eastern Donetsk region, where heavy fighting has persisted for weeks. They were deployed to a village two miles from the town of Siversk and "tasked to take their firing positions" to clear Russian forces from a ravine near a river crossing.

According to Miroshnichenko, the group accomplished their mission but were later surrounded and ambushed by Russian tanks. Lusyszyn was knocked unconscious by one tank round. Bryan Young and the others went to his aid but were all killed by a second round. Speaking to NBC News, Lusyszyn's parents explained that their son went to Ukraine in early April to serve as a medic. He felt the calling because his father is Ukrainian, though both parents tried to dissuade him from going. Lusyszyn’s mother said, "He didn't go there to be a hero. He went there because he wanted to help people." Once there, he sent messages complaining about shoddy equipment and asked them to ship him a tactical vest.

In a statement on Facebook, Miroshnichenko said Lusyszyn earned the "Skywalker" nickname because, as in Star Wars, "he challenged the Evil Empire itself on the side of the weaker but free." Miroshnichenko described Bryan Young as "an American military man" who had been a professional soldier since 1988. As the Guardian notes, Young and Lusyszyn are two of six Americans known to have died so far in Ukraine. Two others, Alexander Drueke and Andy Tai Ngoc, both of Alabama, were captured in June during a firefight with Russian forces. The Biden administration has discouraged Americans from volunteering in Ukraine. (Read more Russia-Ukraine war stories.)

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