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Fact: Americans Are Fighting and Dying in Ukraine

Army Col. Randy Lau fires a 120 mm mortar during live-fire exercise at Camp Roberts, Calif., June 15, 2021. U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Walter Lowell

Ukraine War Update: Two Americans KIA In Ukraine, Russia Trying To Win Support in Africa, Middle East – Two Americans who were fighting in Ukraine as part of a Special Operations unit that was part of the Territorial Defense of the Armed Forces of Ukraine were killed in action this week after getting ambushed during an operation.

Also killed was a Canadian and Swedish citizen, according to their Ukrainian commander, who gave an exclusive interview to Politico.  

Americans Killed in Ukraine 

The Americans killed were Luke “Skywalker” Lucyszyn and Bryan Young. Ruslan Miroshnichenko, the Ukrainian commander, said they were killed along with Emile-Antoine Roy-Sirois of Canada and Edvard Selander Patrignani of Sweden.

During a Russian attack on the village of Hryhorivka, two miles northwest of Siversk. There, Miroshnichenko said, “the guys were tasked to take their firing positions” and clear a ravine where Russian forces were working on crossing a river.

“They did it successfully. But at the end of the mission, they were ambushed by Russian tanks,” Miroshnichenko said. “The first shell injured Luke. Three guys, Edward, Emile, and Bryan, they immediately attempted to help Luke, to do first aid, and evacuate him from this spot. Then the second shell killed them all.”

A State Department spokesman confirmed the deaths but didn’t name them. “We are in touch with the families and providing all possible consular assistance. Out of respect to the families during this difficult time, we have nothing further to add,” the spokesman said.

World Leaders Condemn Putin After Odesa Missile Strike:

Vladimir Putin and the Russian government were lambasted by world leaders after the Russians conducted a missile strike on the port infrastructure of Odesa less than a day after signing a Turkish/UN-sponsored deal to allow grain to flow from the port.

Ukraine’s Odesa military administration said two missiles were shot down, and two struck the port’s facilities. 

The Russian Defense Ministry claimed they attacked and sunk a naval vessel and destroyed a warehouse with US-supplied Harpoon anti-ship missiles.

“A docked Ukrainian warship and a warehouse with US-supplied Harpoon anti-ship missiles were destroyed by long-range precision-guided naval missiles in Odesa seaport on the territory of a ship repair plant,” the ministry was quoted by Russian news agencies. 

Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA), the House Armed Services Committee chairman, was visiting Zelensky with a delegation in Kyiv, wrote in a statement that Putin “violated the spirit of that agreement with more missile strikes.”

“He simply cannot be trusted.”

Bridget Brink, the US Ambassador to Ukraine, posted a statement on Twitter.  “Outrageous. Russia strikes the port city of Odesa less than 24 hours after signing an agreement to allow shipments of agricultural exports. The Kremlin continues to weaponize food. Russia must be held to account.”

Josep Borrell, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs, said the EU “strongly condemns” the attack” in a post he made on Twitter.

“Striking a target crucial for grain export a day after the signature of Istanbul agreements is particularly reprehensible & again demonstrates Russia’s total disregard for international law & commitments,” Borrell wrote.

Estonia’s Prime Minister Kaja Kallas also posted on Twitter, “That’s all you need to know about deals with Russia.”

Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, also echoed the intense feelings that have been displayed against Moscow for this attack. 

“RF (Russian Federation) is predictably worthless,” he wrote in a Twitter post.

“The ink has not had time to dry out, yet there are two vile provocations: attack on a sea port in Odessa and a statement by a (Russian) Defense Ministry that (Ukrainian) ports are “dangerous for shipping.” A reminder to the world of what (Russian)-’pursuit of peace’ is worth.”

Russia Seeking Support in Africa and the Middle East: 

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was on a trip to Egypt and Africa trying to drum up support for Moscow, blaming the war in Ukraine on the US and Western European countries.

In Cairo, Lavrov stated that the war was being dragged on by the West, despite “what and whose end it will be.

“We are in no way prejudiced against resuming negotiations on a wider range of issues, but this does not depend on us because the Ukrainian authorities – starting from the president and down to his numerous, countless advisers – repeatedly say that there will be no talks until Ukraine defeats Russia on the battlefield,” he added.

“In this, the Ukrainians are being actively encouraged by their Western handlers, be it London, Washington, Berlin, or any other European Union and NATO capital. So the choice is theirs.”

Lavrov wrote an article published in newspapers in the four countries he is visiting; Egypt, Ethiopia, Uganda, and the Republic of Congo, where he blamed the food shortages on the United States and the West.

“We know that the African colleagues do not approve of the undisguised attempts of the U.S. and their European satellites to gain the upper hand, and to impose a unipolar world order to the international community,” he wrote.

He characterized the US and Western Europe as “the golden billion” who live well at the expense of others and tried to prey upon the old African fears of colonization. 

“Why should this golden billion, which is only part of the global population, dominate everyone else and enforce its rules of conduct that are based on the illusion of exceptionalism?” he said earlier this week. “It mainly got to where it is by robbing other peoples in Asia and Africa.”

Steve Balestrieri is a 1945 National Security Columnist. He served as a US Army Special Forces NCO and Warrant Officer before injuries forced his early separation. In addition to writing for and other military news organizations, he has covered the NFL for for over 11 years. His work was regularly featured in the Millbury-Sutton Chronicle and Grafton News newspapers in Massachusetts.

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Steve Balestrieri is a 1945 National Security Columnist. He has served as a US Special Forces NCO and Warrant Officer before injuries forced his early separation. In addition to writing for 1945, he covers the NFL for and his work was regularly featured in the Millbury-Sutton Chronicle and Grafton News newspapers in Massachusetts.