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Hernando County man 2nd American to die fighting in Ukraine

Russia Ukraine War
Posted at 12:48 PM, Jun 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-21 12:48:12-04

HERNANDO COUNTY, Fla.  — A man who lived in Hernando County is the second known American to have died while fighting in Ukraine, the State Department confirmed to ABC News on Tuesday.

Stephen Zabielski, 52, died on May 15 in the Ukrainian village of Dorozhniank, according to an online obituary.

Zabielski was a native of New York but lived in Hernando County at the time of his death, the obituary said.

The State Department confirmed his death, which was first reported by Rolling Stone, and provided the following statement.

"We can confirm the death of U.S. citizen Stephen Zabielski in Ukraine. We have been in touch with the family and have provided all possible consular assistance. Out of respect to the family during this difficult time, we have nothing further."

According to his obituary, Zabielski is survived by his wife and five stepchildren. It said he, "enjoyed life to the fullest. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, & riding his Harley."

The only other American known to have died fighting in Ukraine is Willy Cancel, a Marine Corps veteran, who was killed in April.