Local NewsAmerican killed fighting alongside Ukrainian forces in Ukraine

American killed fighting alongside Ukrainian forces in Ukraine


(CNN) — An American citizen, Willy Joseph Cancel, was killed fighting alongside Ukrainian forces in Ukraine, members of Cancel’s family confirmed to CNN.

The 22-year-old was working with a private military contracting company when he was killed on Monday. The company had sent him to Ukraine, and he was being paid while he was fighting there, Cancel’s mother, Rebecca Cabrera, told CNN.

Cancel, a former US Marine, according to his mother, signed up to work for the private military contracting company on top of his full-time job as a corrections officer in Tennessee shortly before the war in Ukraine broke out at the end of February, Cabrera said. When the war began, the company, according to Cabrera, was searching for 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 it there so it didn’t come here, and that maybe our American soldiers wouldn’t have to be involved in it,” Cabrera told CNN in a phone interview.

Cancel flew to Poland on March 12 and crossed into Ukraine sometime over March 12 and 13, Cabrera said.

The group of men Cancel was fighting alongside were from “all different countries,” Cabrera said.

Cabrera was told by those who notified her of her son’s death that his body had not been found.

“They haven’t found his body,” she said. “They are trying, the men that were with him, but it was either grab his body or get killed, but we would love for him to come back to us.”

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

“Due to privacy considerations, we have no further comment,” the official added. “We once again reiterate US citizens should not travel to Ukraine due to the active armed conflict and the singling out of US citizens in Ukraine by Russian government security officials, and that US citizens in Ukraine should depart immediately if it is safe to do so, using any commercial or other privately available ground transportation options.”

Cancel leaves behind a 7-month-old baby and a wife, Cabrera said. Cancel was living in Tennessee before he left for Ukraine, and is originally from Orange County, New York, said Devin Tietze Jr., Cancel’s brother-in-law.

Cabrera said Cancel “always put everybody ahead of himself.”

“He was just a really thoughtful person. He always put everybody ahead of himself even when situations were so stressful,” Cabrera said of her son. “He always kept everybody laughing and calm. He was the man that stood up when everybody else stood back.”

Tietze said Cancel was the “type to fight for what’s right regardless of the outcome,” when asked why Cancel had decided to join the fight in Ukraine.

“He believed wholeheartedly this shouldn’t have happened and he wanted to go help the people in Ukraine,” Tietze said in a phone interview.

Cabrera said Cancel “wanted” to do the military contract work.

“It was something that he believed in his heart, that was the right thing. He was the type of man who always stepped up when everybody else stepped back, and there were a lot of men who were like that that were with him,” Cabrera said.

Earlier on Thursday the British government confirmed a UK citizen had been killed in Ukraine and said officials are “urgently seeking further information” on another who is missing, a UK Foreign Office spokesperson told CNN.

“We can confirm that a British national has been killed in Ukraine and are supporting their family,” they said.

The Ukrainian Defense Ministry created a special unit, the International Legion, for foreign fighters who wanted to join the fight against Russia. More than 20,000 volunteers and veterans from 52 countries had expressed their desire to join the fight as of March 7, according to Brig. Gen. Kyrylo Budanov, commander of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry, which will run this legion.

CNN previously reported on foreign nationals, including citizens from the US and the UK, who had left home to join the fight in Ukraine.

™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

Latest news

A Look into Boston’s History: January 24th

Boston, the capital and largest city of Massachusetts, has a long and rich history that is closely tied to...

Staying informed in New England: The top 10 most popular news sites

New England is home to a rich and diverse array of news outlets, covering everything from local events to...

The Role of Health Care Marketing Agencies in Connecting Consumers with Healthcare Options

Health care marketing agencies play a crucial role in connecting consumers with important medical treatments and products, but it...

Supporting Mental Health in Boston’s Dynamic Startup Ecosystem

Boston's startup ecosystem is dynamic and vibrant, but the fast-paced, high-stress environment of a startup can take a toll...
- Advertisement -

The list of 50 Women Leaders in SaaS includes two female laureates from Boston

The Software Report has compiled a list of 50 women leaders who work in SaaS. The awardees include Robin...

Rapper Bhad Bhabie is criticized while presenting a new look

Bhad Bhabie has been accused of blackfishing for some time but now she may have crossed the line. Hip-hop fans,...

Must read

A Look into Boston’s History: January 24th

Boston, the capital and largest city of Massachusetts, has...

Staying informed in New England: The top 10 most popular news sites

New England is home to a rich and diverse...
- Advertisement -

You might also likeRELATED
Recommended to you