Confirmation of the Loss

Yet another American has been killed in the ongoing war in Ukraine.

According to Newsweek, a US State Department spokesperson told them last Friday simply, “We can confirm the death of another US citizen in Ukraine. Out of respect for the privacy of the family, we have no further comment at this time.”

They went on to say, “We also once again reiterate US citizens should not travel to Ukraine due to the active armed conflict and the singling out of US citizens in Ukraine by Russian government security officials, and that US citizens in Ukraine should depart immediately if it is safe to do so using any commercial or other privately available ground transportation options.”

Typically, several Americans will travel to Ukraine during the upcoming Rosh Hashana holiday in late September. Hasidic Jews from many countries gather in the Ukrainian city of Uman to visit the tomb of Rabbi Nachman and celebrate the Jewish New Year.

Newsweek has also reported that last Friday, the governor of Russia’s Primorsky Krai region, Oleg Kozhemyako, posted on his Telegram channel that volunteer members of the “Tiger” Unit from his region took the life of a 24-year-old American in battle.

Positive Identification

The Russian News agency TASS and WREG News, Memphis, have identified that man as Joshua Alan Jones of Memphis, Tennessee.

Kozhemyako posted images of Jone’s Ukrainian identification papers and US passport on his Telegram channel. The document indicates that Jones had been affiliated with Ukraine’s armed forces since July 24th with the A344 military unit. Image Source: Telegram via @kozhemyakoofficial

The Russian governor wrote in his Telegram post:

“The first result of the “Tiger”! An American Mercenary was destroyed in Ukraine. And this is the first clash immediately after arriving at the front line! A trained group of mercenaries from different countries entered the positions of our volunteers. None of the seamen flinched. The attack was repulsed, the positions were defended.” 

The twenty-four-year-old worked as a Private Military Contractor for months in Ukraine. While there, he worked with Brigade Normande, aka the Norman Brigade, but, at the time of his death, had moved on to another unit.

The Norman Brigade honored their fallen brother on social media by saying,

“We…we’re heartbroken when we received the news of one of brothers and former member, Joshua Jones. He was the kind of guy you want to have in your unit. His playful attitude got us through grey skies and there is no way we can forget him.”

Image courtesy of Facebook and the Norman Brigade.

According to Darya Morozova, a spokesperson for the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), Jones was killed by Russian forces during combat operations on Tuesday, August 23rd, in the village of Yegorovka. She said, “Fleeing Ukrainian militants left his body on the battlefield,” and “Documents identifying the killed person … were found on him.” She says the DPR is willing to release Jones’s body to his family.

In a bit of hard-to-swallow Russian propaganda, military reporter Andrey Rudenko commented in Russia Today (RT) that, according to himthe American was not killed by Russia or their allied militias but rather by his troops while “fleeing from his position.” For some reason, I don’t believe that.

USA Today reminds us that Russia and separatist militias backed by them do not consider foreign fighters protected by the Geneva Conventions or any humanitarian law. They would very much like to see all foreign soldiers leave as soon as possible. If not, they say, their safety cannot be guaranteed. According to RT, the Russian Ministry of Defense warns them that “the best thing that awaits them if they are captured alive is a trial and maximum prison terms.” We don’t have to guess what the worst possible outcome might be.

Remembering the Other Fallen

Barely one month has passed since Americans Luke “Skywalker” Lucyszyn and Bryan Young were among several foreign fighters killed in eastern Donetsk as they attempted to slow the advance of Russian troops in the region. In late April, twenty-two-year-old former Marine Willy Joseph Cancel was killed while fighting with President Zelensky’s International Legion of Territorial Defense of Ukraine. He left behind a young widow and a seven-month-old son.

To date, at least seven Americans are known to have died in the country during Russia six month war with Ukraine. The others include filmmaker Brent Renaud, Minnesota native Jimmy Hill, and Ukrainian-American Serge Zevlever, who was aiding in the adoption of special needs babies from Ukraine at the time of his death.