American citizen killed, British aid workers captured in Ukraine

American citizen killed, British aid workers captured in Ukraine

A US citizen and former US Marine was killed while fighting alongside Ukrainian forces as Russia launched new attacks in eastern Ukraine.

Willy Joseph Cancel, 22, worked for a private military construction company when he was killed on Monday, and is the first known American citizen to die during the fighting in Ukraine.

Cancel signed up to work for the private military construction company just before the war in Ukraine broke out in late February, Cancel’s mother Rebecca Cabrera told CNN in a telephone interview. When the war began, the company began recruiting contractors to fight in Ukraine, and Cancel agreed to go, Cabrera said.

“He wanted to go over because he believed in what Ukraine was fighting for, and he wanted to be a part of it to contain that so that it did not come here, and that our American soldiers might not have to be involved in it.” she said.

A State Department official told CNN that they are “aware of these reports and are monitoring the situation closely.”

FILE - A man wears combat gear as he leaves Poland to fight in Ukraine, at the border crossing in Medyka, Poland, on March 2, 2022. FILE - A man wears combat gear as he leaves Poland to fight in Ukraine, at the border crossing in Medyka, Poland, on March 2, 2022.

Relatives: Former US Marines killed fighters in Ukraine

The news followed reports that two British volunteers who helped provide humanitarian aid in Ukraine had been detained by the Russian military at a checkpoint south of Zaporizhzhia.

The British non-profit Presidium Network said the two men, both civilians, were working independently as part of a project in Ukraine to provide food, medical supplies and evacuation assistance.

Dominik Byrne, co-founder of Presidium Network, said the men had disappeared on Monday after entering Russian territory where they planned to help evacuate a woman.

British Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan told Sky News: “The Foreign Office is doing everything it can to support and identify these two people.”

Her comment came after rescue workers discovered the body of Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty journalist Vira Hyrych on Friday morning. A Russian air strike hit her apartment building in Kyiv the night before.

A picture of RFE / RL journalist Vira Hyrych from her Facebook page.  Hyrych was killed in a Russian airstrike that hit the apartment building where she lived in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv. A picture of RFE / RL journalist Vira Hyrych from her Facebook page.  Hyrych was killed in a Russian airstrike that hit the apartment building where she lived in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv.

RFE / RL journalist dies in Russian airstrikes against Kyiv

Britain will deploy a team of war crimes experts to support Ukraine with investigations into Russian atrocities, Foreign Minister Liz Truss announced on Friday during a visit to The Hague.

In a meeting with the President of the International Criminal Court, Judge Piotr Hofmanski, she was expected to reaffirm Britain’s full support for the investigation and prosecution of war crimes and the use of sexual violence “not only in the conflict in Ukraine but around the world”. This is stated by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in a press release.

Ukraine is considering strikes against Russia

Russia fired two missiles into Kyiv on Thursday during a visit by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, an act which the Ukrainian president said was a deliberate attempt to humiliate the UN

“This says a lot about Russia’s true attitude towards global institutions, about the Russian authorities’ attempts to humiliate the UN and everything that the organization represents,” Zelenskyy said Friday in a video to the nation overnight. “Therefore, it requires a correspondingly powerful reaction.”

Ukraine’s presidential adviser said on Thursday that Ukraine should decide whether to attack Russian military installations.

Asked if this could escalate the conflict, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told VOA: “What we are talking about here is not an intention for Ukraine to invade Russia and try to take Russian territory, go after Russian civilians, go after Russian hospitals. We are talking about military goals.It’s something completely different.

NATO expansion

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has prompted Finland and Sweden to consider applying to join NATO’s military alliance. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Thursday that if they choose to take that step, the process can be completed quickly.

– It is of course up to Finland and Sweden to decide whether they want to apply for NATO membership or not. But if they decide to apply, Finland and Sweden would be welcomed with open arms to NATO, Stoltenberg told reporters in Brussels.

Russia has expressed opposition to a future NATO membership for Finland and Sweden and says that if they join, Russia will deploy nuclear weapons and hypersonic missiles to Kaliningrad, a Russian enclave on the Baltic Sea.

“This is basically about the right of every nation in Europe to decide its own future,” Stoltenberg said. “So when Russia tries to threaten, to scare Finland and Sweden from not applying, it just shows how Russia does not respect each nation’s fundamental right to choose its own path.”

VOA National Security Correspondent Jeff Seldin contributed to this report. Some information came from the Associated Press and Reuters.

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