RUSSIA + UKRAINE

Relatives: Former US Marine killed fighting in Ukraine

Apr 29, 2022, 7:43 AM

Firefighters try to put out a fire following an explosion in Kyiv, Ukraine on Thursday, April 28, 2...

Firefighters try to put out a fire following an explosion in Kyiv, Ukraine on Thursday, April 28, 2022. Russia mounted attacks across a wide area of Ukraine on Thursday, bombarding Kyiv during a visit by the head of the United Nations. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

(AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

WASHINGTON (AP) — A former U.S. Marine was killed fighting alongside Ukrainian forces in the war with Russia, his relatives told news outlets in what’s the first known death of a U.S. citizen fighting in Ukraine.

Rebecca Cabrera told CNN her son, Willy Joseph Cancel, 22, was killed Monday while working for a military contracting company that sent him to Ukraine.

Cabrera said her son was working as a corrections officer in Tennessee and had signed up to work with the private military contractor shortly before fighting began in Ukraine in late February. She told CNN he agreed to go to Ukraine.

“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,” she said.

Cabrera said her son’s body has 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.”
She said her son flew to Poland on March 12 and entered Ukraine shortly after. She said he was fighting alongside men from a number of countries.

The U.S. has not confirmed the reports. On Friday, the State Department said it was aware of the reports and is “closely monitoring the situation. Due to privacy considerations, we have no further comment. We once again reiterate U.S. citizens should not travel to Ukraine due to the active armed conflict and the singling out of U.S. citizens in Ukraine by Russian government security officials, and that U.S. citizens in Ukraine should depart immediately if it is safe to do so using any commercial or other privately available ground transportation options.”

Cancel’s widow, Brittany Cancel, told Fox News he leaves behind a young son and that she sees her husband as a hero.

“My husband did die in Ukraine,” Brittany Cancel said. “He went there wanting to help people, he had always felt that that was his main mission in life.”

She said her husband volunteered to go to Ukraine but also had aspirations of becoming a police officer or firefighter.

“He had dreams and aspirations of being a police officer or joining FDNY,” she told Fox. “Naturally when he found out about what was happening in Ukraine he was eager to volunteer.”
___
AP Diplomatic Writer Matthew Lee contributed to this report from Washington.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Russia + Ukraine

Former president Donald Trump, Manhattan trial...

MICHAEL R. SISAK

With trial starting next month, Manhattan DA asks judge for a gag order in Trump’s hush-money case

The Manhattan DA's office asked that Trump be barred from making or directing others to make public statements about people involved in the case.

6 days ago

Soldiers carry the coffin of Ukrainian poet and serviceman Maksym Kryvtsov who was killed in action...

Stephanie Halasz and Ivana Kottasová, CNN

Zelensky warns ‘millions will be killed’ without US aid to Kyiv, as Ukrainian troop deaths reach at least 31,000

“Millions” could die in Ukraine’s war with Russia if US lawmakers don’t approve President Joe Biden’s $60 billion aid request.

6 days ago

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (L) and U.S. President Joe Biden shake hands while meeting i...

LISA MASCARO, AAMER MADHANI and STEPHEN GROVES

Zelenskyy pleads for Ukraine aid at Capitol and White House, says to US: Our fight is yours

As Zelenskyy wrapped up his two-day visit to Washington, it was unclear if he was able to shake up the political stalemate over aid.

3 months ago

A Ukraine serviceman uniform is seen during a celebration ceremony of the Independence Day at St. S...

Yulia Kesaieva and Benjamin Brown, CNN

Ukraine investigating if Russian troops killed surrendering soldiers

Ukrainian prosecutors are investigating whether Russian troops killed two Ukrainian service members after the pair had surrendered.

3 months ago

Finland's border guards walk at construction site of the border barrier fence between Finland and R...

Associated Press

Finland plans to close its entire border with Russia over migration concerns

The government of accuses Moscow of ushering the migrants toward the Finnish border.

3 months ago

the U.S. believes Kim is seeking sophisticated Russian weapons technologies in return for the munit...

AAMER MADHANI Associated Press

US says North Korea delivered 1,000 containers of equipment and munitions to Russia for Ukraine war

The White House says that North Korea has delivered military equipment to Russia for its ongoing war in Ukraine.

5 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

Relatives: Former US Marine killed fighting in Ukraine