Amsterdam native killed fighting in Ukraine, State Department confirms; Second American killed in conflict

PHOTOGRAPHER:

Stephen D. “Steve” Zabielski (Credit: Obituary) Right: A building destroyed in Russian shelling outside Kyiv (Associated Press)

CRANESVILLE An Amsterdam native has been killed fighting in Ukraine, the second U.S. citizen to die fighting, the U.S. Department of State confirmed Tuesday.

Stephen D. “Steve” Zabielski, 52, of Hernando, FL, and formerly of Cranesville, died May 15, while fighting in the war in Ukraine in the Village of Dorozhniank, according to his obituary published in The Amsterdam Recorder.

Zabielski was a graduate of Amsterdam High School and had been a lifelong resident of the Amsterdam area until 2018, according to the obituary. He worked in construction for more than 30 years and enjoyed hunting, fishing and riding his Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

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Family members of Zabielski could not be immediately reached Tuesday.

A state department spokesman confirmed Tuesday Zabielski died in Ukraine and declined further comment out of respect for the family.

“We have been in touch with the family and have provided all possible consular assistance,” the spokesperson said. “We once again reiterate U.S. citizens should not travel to Ukraine due to the active armed conflict and the singling out of U.S. citizens in Ukraine by Russian government security officials, and that U.S. citizens in Ukraine should depart immediately if it is safe to do so using any commercial or other privately available ground transportation options.”

Zabielski is the second U.S. citizen to die in the conflict. Willy Joseph Cancel, 22, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran of Orange County, NY, reportedly died in April.

Born on July 1, 1969 in Amsterdam, Zabielski he was the son of the late Edward S. Zabielski and Joan K. (Vitus) Zabielski, according to the obituary. He is survived by his wife, Fran A. (Fulci) Zabielski; five stepchildren Cody Pine, Austin Pine, Heather Hartenfels, Christina Hartenfels, & Francesa Hartenfels, seven siblings Theresa A. Zabielski, Edward J. Zabielski, Carrielynn (Zabielski) Soodol, Sandra M. (Zabielski) Spagnola, Robert F. Zabielski, Tami R. (Zabielski) Beaudette, & Pamela J. Zabielski ; one grandchild, eight nieces, six nephews, many cousins and extended family members, the obituary states.

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By Andrew Waite

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