The two Americans who were recently killed fighting Russian troops in Ukraine have been identified as Luke Lucyszyn and Bryan Young, with their families confirming their deaths to CBS News.
Lucyszyn's parents and Young's wife confirmed their names on Sunday, after the State Department formally notified both families of their deaths. A department spokesperson originally said two Americans had been killed but declined to provide additional information "out of respect" for the families.
Lucyszyn and Young were among four foreigners who died while fighting alongside Ukrainian forces in the country's disputed Donetsk region on July 18, Ukrainian commander Ruslan Miroshnichenko told Politico. The two others were identified as Swedish and Canadian citizens, he said, a detail he confirmed to CBS News.
Their commanding officer told CBS News that Lucyszyn was injured by Russian shelling. When Young and others went to help him, they were killed by additional tank fire, he said.
Kathryn and George Lucyszyn spoke about the death of their 31-year-old son, who was a father of two, in an interview with NBC News. The North Carolina residents said Luke decided to start volunteering as a medic in Ukraine in early April, and had asked them to send supplies, like a tactical vest, after noting that his group lacked proper equipment.
"He didn't go there to be a hero. He went there because he wanted to help people," said Kathryn, whose husband is Ukrainian.
Lucyszyn and Young's commanding officer told CBS News that Young always had a cheerful smile and called him a "good soldier."
He also said that, despite Lucyszyn's young age, "he behaved as a man, as a good soldier."
Lucyszyn and Young are at least the fifth and sixth Americans to die in Ukraine since the Russian invasion began. Their deaths came as the war entered its sixth month and Russia continued to launch attacks in different parts of the country.
The strike was denounced by the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, which called the attack a "spit in the face." The State Department said in a statement that the U.S. "strongly condemns" Russia's actions, particularly in light of the new exports deal.