… Journalist felled by Russian bombardment in Kyiv
U.S. citizen Willy Joseph Cancel was killed in Ukraine while fighting alongside Ukrainian troops against invading Russian forces, his family confirmed to ABC News early Friday.
Cancel, a 22-year-old former U.S. Marine, “was eager to volunteer” when he learned about the war in Ukraine, according to his wife, Brittany Cancel.
“He went there wanting to help people, he had always felt that that was his main mission in life,” Brittany Cancel told ABC News in a statement. “My husband was very brave and a hero.”
Before going to Ukraine, Cancel was working as a detention officer in Kentucky. He also had dreams of becoming a police officer or firefighter, according to his wife.
“I did not expect to be a widow at 23 years old or for our son to be without a father,” she said. “All I want is for him to come home, and to give him the proper burial he deserves.”
An official with the U.S. Department of State told ABC News on Friday morning that they “are aware of these reports and are closely monitoring the situation,” but declined to comment further “due to privacy considerations.”
Yesterday, at least one person — a journalist — was killed in a rocket attack on a residential building in Kyiv on Thursday evening, ABC News reported.
Kyiv Mayor Vitali Kilitschko said Friday that rescuers had found the body of a victim amid the rubble.
Radio Liberty, a service of the U.S.-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, reported that one of its employees, Vira Gyrych, was killed when a Russian missile hit her apartment in the Ukrainian capital on Thursday. Her body was found beneath the wreckage Friday morning, according to the report.
Gyrych had worked as a journalist and producer for Radio Liberty’s Kyiv bureau since 2018. Prior to that, she worked for leading Ukrainian television channels, according to Radio Liberty.
“The editorial staff of Radio Liberty expresses its condolences to the family of Vira Gyrych and will remember her as a bright and kind person, a true professional,” Radio Liberty said in its report.
Israeli Ambassador to Ukraine Michael Brodsky also confirmed Gyrych’s death in a Twitter post, saying she was a former employee of the Israeli embassy in Kyiv.
Thursday’s rocket attack came as United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres visited Kyiv. Five Russian missiles flew into the city, according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. At least 10 people were injured, including four who were hospitalized, according to the Kyiv City Council. (ABC)