Parents of American killed in Ukraine says son is a ‘hero’

Russia At War

(NewsNation) — The parents of a South Carolina man who died fighting in Ukraine said he was compelled to go overseas because he wanted to help others.

Luke “Skywalker” Lucyszyn, a 31-year-old Myrtle Beach resident, died on July 18 in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine after being knocked unconscious by an artillery strike and fatally shot by a Russian tank. Donbas is where Russia has focused most of its firepower, bombarding cities and towns throughout the Russia-Ukraine War.

Lucyszn is one of two Americans the State Department confirmed the deaths of over the weekend. The other American who died was identified as Bryan Young.

At least two other Americans are believed to have died in the conflict so far. Willy Joseph Cancel, a 22-year-old former Marine from Tennessee, was killed in April, while the State Department announced Stephen Zabielski’s death in June.

President Joe Biden has maintained that U.S. troops will not be sent to Ukraine. But thousands of foreign fighters, many of them American, quickly joined the International Legion of Territorial Defense of Ukraine after Russia invaded the country in February.

Knowing how dangerous it was in Ukraine, George and Kathryn Lucyszyn said they tried to dissuade their son from going.

However, after seeing the news of what was happening, Luke Lucyszyn became concerned.

Kathryn Lucyszyn said he insisted on going, saying “I don’t know any other way” to help.

“One day, he just said, I’m leaving. And the next (time) he contacted us, he was in Warsaw, Poland, and he was trying to work his way into into Ukraine,” George Lucyszyn, who is Ukrainian, said.

Luke Lucyszyn died fighting in Ukraine, the State Department announced over the weekend.

Before he left America, Luke Lucyszyn worked in construction as a painter and a window installer. His last gig had been driving an 18-wheeler truck, George Lucyszyn said.

“He was a hero. He was a good kid. And I’m gonna miss him. You know, I still think of him as a kid, even though he’s a 31-year-old man,” George Lucyszyn said.

Kathryn Lucyszyn said the family is devastated by Luke’s loss.

“We feel like a piece of us is missing,” she said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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