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.

Today’s Top Stories

Russia + Ukraine

A US Bradley Fighting Vehicle patrols the countryside of the Kurdish-majority city of Qamishli in S...
Natasha Bertrand, Kylie Atwood and Oren Liebermann, CNN

Inside the US and German standoff over sending tanks to Ukraine

The Biden administration is stuck in a standoff with Germany over whether to send tanks to Ukraine ahead of a key meeting of Western defense leaders in Germany on Friday.
12 days ago
A helicopter crash near a kindergarten in the Kyiv region has killed at least 16 people, including ...
Maria Kostenko, Sophie Tanno, Brent Swails and Ivana Kottasová, CNN

Helicopter crash near Kyiv kills 16, including Ukrainian interior minister

At least 30 others, including 12 children, are in the hospital following the helicopter crash in the city of Brovary, Ukraine, on Wednesday,
14 days ago
The mercenary group, Wagner, has emerged as a key player in Russia's invasion of Ukraine -- recentl...
Mick Krever and Katharina Krebs, CNN

Former Wagner commander flees to Norway and seeks asylum

Andrei Medvedev, in an interview with a Russian activist, said that he feared for his life after refusing to renew his service with Wagner.
15 days ago
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky addresses the US Congress at the US Capitol in Washington, D...
Kevin Liptak and Maegan Vazquez, CNN

Zelensky delivers impassioned speech for more help fighting Russia on the ‘frontline of tyranny’

Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited Washington, D.C. on Wednesday to meet with President Biden, and delivered a speech to Congress later that night.
1 month ago
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky holds a press conference with the heads of state of France, ...
Kevin Liptak, CNN

4 takeaways from the historic visit of Volodymyr Zelensky to Washington

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky flew to Washington on Wednesday to discuss what the next state of the war in his country might look like.
1 month ago
...
Kevin Liptak, CNN

Zelensky arrives at White House for historic meeting with Biden

Zelensky arrived at the South Lawn of the White House just after 2 p.m. ET and was met by President Joe Biden.
1 month ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...
Macey's

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
Relatives: Former US Marine killed fighting in Ukraine