After a second American died in a war zone, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby warned Americans not to travel to Ukraine to fight in the war against Russia.
“We want to stress that now is not the place or the time for Americans to go to Ukraine,” Mr Kirby said at a daily White House briefing. “This is a war, and if you want to help the Ukrainian people, there are many other better options than putting yourself at risk in the war.”
The U.S. State Department confirmed the death of U.S. citizen Stephen Zabirski on Tuesday. This is the second confirmed death of an American who has fought alongside Ukrainian fighters since the Russian invasion on February 24.
Willy Joseph Cancel, a 22-year-old former U.S. Marine working for a private military contracting company, died in April while fighting alongside Ukrainian troops.
Zabilsky, 52, of Hernando, Florida, was killed on May 15 in fighting in the Ukrainian village of Dorozhnyak, according to an obituary in an upstate New York newspaper.
A day earlier, a Kremlin spokesman said two Americans who went missing after fighting in Ukraine had been detained and would be denied the protections afforded prisoners of war by the Geneva Conventions.
Mr Kirby said the government was still working to learn more about the two men.
“It is appalling that a Russian public official even recommended the death penalty for two U.S. citizens in Ukraine,” he said.