How Many Americans Were Killed in Ukrainian Conflict
11:00 GMT 31.07.2023 (Updated: 13:12 GMT 31.07.2023)
Since the escalation of the Ukrainian conflict in February 2022, the Kiev regime has welcomed several thousand foreign mercenaries to fight alongside Ukrainian troops, with many of these 'hired guns' perishing on the battlefield.
While the material support the US and its NATO allies provide to Ukraine is openly discussed by Western politicians and media, the foreign militants who contribute to Kiev’s efforts on the battlefield don't seem to be getting as much spotlight, especially when these militants start coming back home in body bags.
In March 2022, Ukrainian officials boasted that about 20,000 foreign militants signed up to fight for Kiev, with over 3,000 applications allegedly being submitted by US citizens.
Both Ukrainian and Western authorities, however, act a lot less boastful and a lot more reserved when it comes to counting the number of these foreign militants who got killed in Ukrainian conflict zone.
How Many Foreign Mercenaries Have Been Killed in Ukraine?
The defense ministry, however, did not delve into any specifics such as what country each of these dead militants hailed from.
An article in the Washington Post from May 29, 2023, however, mentions “at least 16 instances” of US military veterans perishing in Ukraine, while a report by Fox 11 Los Angeles from June 27, 2023 mentions that “at least 25 Americans,” about half of them retired US Marines, got killed in the Ukrainian conflict.
Here is what Sputnik managed to dig up from open sources regarding the American casualties caused by the fighting in Ukraine.
US Mercenaries Killed in Ukraine
Reports about Americans killed in the Ukrainian conflict zone started surfacing in media mere weeks after the conflict’s escalation.
A CNN article from April 2022 reveals the details of one Willy Joseph Cancel, a 22-year old corrections officer from Tennessee and former US Marine who signed up with a “private military contracting company” not long before February 2022.
In March 2022, Cancel entered Ukraine from Poland to fight against Russian forces as part of a group comprised of men from “all different countries,” only to be killed about a month later. His mother, Rebecca Cabrera, complained that her son’s teammates were unable to recover his body.
On May 15, a 52-year old US Army veteran Stephen Zabielsky got killed in Zaporozhye Region after stepping on a land mine, if a Rolling Stone article from June 2022 is to be believed.
Zabielsky was reportedly operating in the Ukrainian conflict zone as part of a 13-man multinational squad called Wolverines – likely a reference to the 1984 movie “Red Dawn” where a bunch of plucky American teenagers band together to fight a fictional Soviet invasion of the US.
Cancel and Zabielsky thus became referred to by media outlets as the first and the second American citizens (respectively) killed in the Ukrainian conflict.
A 50-year old US Marine veteran Grady Kurpasi was operating in Ukraine as part of a foreign militant group in April 2022 when he and another British fighter went on a scouting mission near the observation post their unit was manning – that was the last time he was seen alive by his fellow mercenaries.
Kurpasi’s skeletal remains were discovered and identified only a year later and were shipped to the US for burial in May 2023.
A friend of Kurpasi who assisted with the effort to recover the ex-Marine’s remains told the newspaper that the US State Department was “absolutely awful” in that situation, and that “it was probably beneficial” that the said government agency was not involved with the retrieval of what was left of Kurpasi.
Yet another report on CBS News reveals the fate of two US citizens named Luke Lucyszyn and Bryan Young who got killed after running afoul of a Russian tank on July 18, 2022.
The duo’s commanding officer reportedly said that Lucyszyn, who was supposedly volunteering as a medic for the Ukrainian forces, first got injured by shelling and when Young and others rushed to help him, both of them got killed by Russian tank fire. Two other foreign militants – a Swede and a Canadian – were also killed in that attack.
In August 2022, a 24-year old US Army veteran Joshua Alan Jones was killed in Ukraine while fighting as part of a militant unit called the Norman Brigade that is apparently comprised of foreign militants fighting for the Kiev regime.
Russian media said at that time that Jones was killed in action near the village of Yegorovka in the Donetsk People’s Republic, with local authorities saying that they are willing to help return the militant’s body to his country of origin.
In October 2022, the death of one Dane Partridge was reported by US media. A 34-year old native of Idaho and a former US Army soldier, Partridge was serving as part of a unit for the Kiev regime that included at least several other foreign militants, according to an American propaganda broadcaster.
Partridge’s unit was operating near the city of Severodonetsk in the Lugansk People’s Republic when he sustained a shrapnel injury in the head courtesy of the Russian armed forces. While his comrades tried to bring him to safety, Partridge ended up succumbing to his wounds.
Also in October 2022, two natives of the US state of Washington – Steve Munroe and Skyler Gregg – were killed in the Ukrainian conflict zone.
According to the Seattle Times, Munroe, who worked in private security, perished when his unit clashed with a Russian squad that was holed up in a building.
While Munroe’s comrades claimed that he was killed when a grenade explosion sent a piece of shrapnel straight into his brain, Munroe’s fiancé who saw his body in a morgue reportedly said that he apparently sustained gunshot wounds, and even wondered if the militant was killed by friendly fire, seeing how his comrades were reluctant to provide a “straight answer.”
Gregg, who apparently had no prior military experience, lost his life during shelling in the Lugansk People’s Republic countryside, having suffered a shrapnel injury to the head.
A 21-year old US Army veteran Trent Davis lost his life on November 8, 2022 near the city of Kherson, his first mission as part of Ukraine’s so-called “foreign legion” becoming his last.
While Davis was evacuated to a field hospital after being wounded during a battle, his injuries simply proved too severe, Army Times reported. The media outlet, however, did not elaborate on the nature of Davis’ injuries.
Also in November, news of the death of one Timothy Griffin surfaced in media.
According to a report by the Guardian, Griffin was killed in action while fighting alongside the Ukrainian forces in the Kharkov Region.
In January 2023, a former US Navy SEAL Daniel W. Swift was reported dead in Ukraine where he was apparently fighting on Kiev’s side.
The US Navy was quick to declare that they “cannot speculate” why Swift was in Ukraine, claiming that he deserted his post in San Diego, California back in 2019.
One US official told an American propaganda broadcaster on condition of anonymity that Swift died of the wounds he had sustained in Dnepropetrovsk.
On February 2, a US Marine Corps veteran Pete Reed got killed in Artemovsk when a van he was standing next to was hit by what apparently was an anti-tank missile.
While US media claimed that Reed was a paramedic and that the targeted van was allegedly carrying humanitarian supplies, they were forced to admit that the vehicle in question was not marked as an ambulance. That said, the Ukrainian forces have long been using civilian vehicles to transport troops and equipment.
Given the chaotic nature of urban warfare, the kind of which was waged in Artemovsk at the time, it was not immediately clear whether the missile that caused Reed’s death was fired by Russian or by Ukrainian forces.
A 28-year old US Army veteran Andrew Peters died while fighting for the Kiev regime.
According to WaPo, Peters’ 53-year old father, a Gulf War vet, also initially considered travelling to Ukraine with his son but ultimately decided against it.
In April 2023, the US Department of State confirmed the death of a US national named Edward Walter Wilton who apparently perished when fighting near the city of Artemovsk (formerly known as Bakhmut).
According to The Daily Beast, the slain American was identified by “pro-Russian military bloggers,” with a relative of Wilton’s confirming his death in a phone conversation with the media outlet. The State Department at that time refused to divulge the mercenary’s name out of respect for the family’s privacy.”
Another US veteran, one Christopher Campbell, also lost his life near Artemovsk in April 2023.
His burial in Kiev in May apparently became the first instance of an American militant being interred in Ukrainian soil, if local media reports are to be believed.
A retired US Marine Corps Sergeant Cooper Andrews became yet another victim of the fighting near Artemovsk, losing his life on April 19.
His mother told media later that her son was killed by a mortar shell.
Mere days later, a US Army veteran and a former Green Beret Nicholas Maimer met his end near Artemovsk, apparently dying in a building collapse.
His death became known to public after Russian forces recovered his remains and documents, including Maimer’s driver’s license and Veteran Affairs card.
At least two Ukrainian generals and up to 50 Ukrainian officers of lower rank, along with up to 20 foreign mercenaries and advisers, got killed in that strike, the Russian Ministry of Defense said in a statement.
What Do Americans Who Survived Say
Many of those Americans who went to fight in the Ukrainian conflict on the side of the Kiev regime and were fortunate enough to survive – at least for the time being – appeared unsettled by their experience.
One such unnamed US army veteran turned pro-Kiev militant complained to NBC News that the constant Russian artillery barrages he and his comrades had to endure in the city of Severodonetsk – where Ukrainian forces suffered a stinging defeat – were “the closest thing I’ve ever seen to hell.”
“We lost three guys,” the militant complained, as quoted in an article dated July 21, 2022. “My commander got killed out there. A buddy of mine got killed out there. When s— like that happens, it’s hard to imagine the way forward.”
A retired US Marine Corps lieutenant colonel Ripley Rawlings, who has not taken up arms in the conflict but helps prolong it by sending equipment to pro-Kiev foreign militants, also told the media outlet that “the number of people that are upset and have low morale has increased, and that’s partly because of the way the Russians have chosen to fight.”
Another militant, one David Bramlette who previously served as a US Army Ranger in Iraq and Afghanistan, would tell the Daily Beast about a year later that those two conflicts were nothing like what he and his fellow mercenaries had to face in Ukraine.
“The worst day in Afghanistan and Iraq is a great day in Ukraine,” he said. “Even when we thought it wasn’t, we were always in control of the situation.”
Bramlette also lamented that many of the foreigners who travelled to Ukraine to fight for the regime in Kiev were essentially “dumb-a** volunteers” who often lacked the necessary experience and skills.
A ex-US Marine Troy Offenbecker, who also joined the ranks of foreign mercenaries in Kiev’s employ, told the same outlet that, out of the three armed conflicts he participated in, the Ukrainian one is the worst “by far.”
“You’re getting f*cking smashed with artillery, tanks. Last week I had a plane drop a bomb next to us, like 300 meters away. It’s horrifying sh*t,” he said.