Who Was Willy Joseph Cancel? Ex-US Marine Killed in Ukraine Fighting Alongside Zelensky's Troops Against Russians

A former US marine has been killed in Ukraine fighting against the Russian military. Willy Joseph Cancel, 22, was fighting alongside Ukraine forces while working under a private military contracting company.

He was killed on Monday but according to his family members, Cancel's body has not been recovered so far.

Willy Joseph Cancel
Willy Joseph Cancel Twitter

Cancel signed up to work for the private military contracting company on top of his full-time job as a corrections officer in Tennessee shortly before the war in Ukraine broke out at the end of February, his mother Rebecca Cabrera told CNN.

Cancel had agreed to go to Ukraine when his private military company was looking for fighters last month.

Cancel Crosses Into Ukraine From Poland

His mother confirmed that Cancel went to fight in Ukraine as he believed that Russia should be stopped in Kyiv and to fail Putin to take the fight to the other Western countries including the US.

On March 12, Cancel flew to Poland and reached Ukraine possibly a day after. He was a part of a fighter group that had people from multiple countries. His team members informed Cabrera of her son's death and told her that Cancel's body is not recovered so far.

Meanwhile, the State Department has maintained that they are unaware of these reports but are monitoring the situation.

The department underlined its recommendation that American citizens should avoid traveling to Ukraine as the country faces severe armed conflict.

Who Was Cancel?

Cancel hailed from Orange County, New York, and was living in Tennessee before leaving for Ukraine. He left behind his wife and a seven-month-old baby.

However, he is not the first American to die in the Ukraine war. James Whitney Hill, who was a teacher in Ukraine, was killed last month. Before Hill's death Russians fatally shot Brent Renaud, a former New York Times contributor.

A special unit was created by Ukraine which consists of foreign fighters. President Volodymyr Zelensky had urged the fighters across the world to come to Ukraine and fight against Russia.

Nearly 20,000 volunteers worldwide had expressed their desire to join the unit, the International Legion.