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Hernando man killed while fighting in Ukraine, reports say

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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A Hernando man died last month while fighting Russian forces in the Ukrainian invasion, according to several reports.

The death of Stephen Zabielski, 52, was first announced in an obituary from a newspaper in New York, where Zabielski was from originally. His last known place of residence was Hernando in Citrus County.

The obituary, published on June 1, said he died during a battle in Dorozhniank, Ukraine.

The 52-year-old was one of many foreign fighters who have journeyed to Ukraine to support the country against the invasion. He was the second U.S. citizen to be killed in combat there, according to NBC News.

NBC News reported that the U.S. State Department confirmed Zabielski’s death in a statement. The State Department said it has already contacted his family to provide assistance.

The State Department also continued to warn people against traveling to Ukraine amid the Russian-Ukrainian conflict.

Zabielski’s obituary said he is survived by his wife, five stepchildren, one grandchild and seven siblings.

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