AWOL Navy SEAL Killed Fighting Russian Forces In Ukraine
Azov Regiment Forces Train In Kharkiv Region
Paula Bronstein/Getty Images

An American Navy SEAL who went AWOL nearly four years ago was killed earlier this week while fighting in Ukraine.

A U.S. Navy official told TIME that Daniel Swift, a Navy Special Warfare Operator First Class, died from injuries he sustained when a Ukrainian unit he was a part of came under attack from Russian forces.

“We can confirm the recent death of a U.S. citizen fighting in Ukraine,” a U.S. State Department statement said without confirming Swift’s identity. “We are in touch with his family and providing all possible consular assistance. Out of respect for the privacy of the family during this difficult time, we have nothing further to add.”

Swift, listed as an active deserter since March 11, 2019, formerly deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan and received three medals for his service, according to TIME. The AWOL Navy SEAL was most recently stationed in Coronado, California.

Swift is among at least eight Americans who have been killed in Ukraine since Russia launched its invasion last February, CBS News reported. Last summer, Americans Luke Lucyszyn and Bryan Young were killed while fighting the invading Russian forces in eastern Ukraine.

Last March, State Department spokesman Ned Price warned Americans about traveling to Ukraine or attempting to join the fight against Russia.

“U.S. citizens who travel to Ukraine — especially with the purpose of participating in fighting there — they face significant risks, including the very real risk of capture or death,” Price said. “The United States, as you know, is not able to provide assistance to evacuate U.S. citizens from Ukraine, including those Americans who may decide to travel to Ukraine to participate in the ongoing war.”

While President Joe Biden has made it clear that the United States will not send American troops into Ukraine, the administration boosted its support for the European country earlier this month by sending President Volodymyr Zelensky more offensive weapons.

The Biden administration announced that the U.S. is sending Ukraine 50 Bradley Fighting Vehicles along with long-range rocket systems. The administration’s announcement came less than one month after Zelensky visited the White House and begged Congress for more aid.

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