Partner of US veteran killed fighting for Ukraine says its army never told her and she found out from Facebook

Partner of US veteran killed fighting for Ukraine says its army never told her and she found out from Facebook
  • A US Army veteran was killed in July while volunteering to defend Ukraine from Russia's invasion.

  • Bryan Young's partner told Insider that she found out about his death on Facebook.

  • She also accused Young's commander of calling her up drunk while making funeral arrangements.

The partner of an American volunteer who was killed fighting in Ukraine says she found out about his death on Facebook.

Bryan Young, a 51-year-old Army veteran from California, was killed by Russian artillery fire in Ukraine's eastern Donetsk region on July 18.

His partner, Julia*, told Insider that she only found out about Young's death from a message sent to her on Facebook.

"No one, absolutely no one informed me," she told Insider. "I just found out the next day from Bryan's daughter who messaged me on Facebook."

"It was not from his commanders. It was from no one, and I don't understand how it could happen," she added.

Bryan had two daughters from a previous marriage. Hayley Young, the daughter who contacted Julia in the Facebook message seen by Insider, did not respond to a request for comment.

Julia and Young were married in December 2020 but later divorced. Despite their divorce, they remained partners, and Young was in frequent communication with her in the months leading up to his death, Julia said.

Young even put her down as his next-of-kin when he signed his contract with the Territorial Defense Legion in March, she said, adding that it was for this reason that she expected to be contacted immediately after his death. (Insider was unable to obtain a copy of his contract).

"It is completely unacceptable," she said. "No one cares."

Bryan Young.Bryan Young/Facebook/Maria Lipka

Young died alongside three other foreigners who also fought in Ukraine: fellow American Luke Lucyszyn, 31, Emile-Antoine Roy-Sirois of Canada, 31, and Edvard Selander Patrignani of Sweden, 28.

The men were all part of the 517th battalion of the Ivan Bohun Brigade. Julia said their commander, Ruslan Miroshnichenko, never personally called to tell her what happened, though he wrote about the incident on Facebook.  The post was later deleted.

When he did call her to discuss funeral arrangements, Julia said he sounded drunk. When she asked him for a live stream so she could watch the funeral from afar, she said Miroshnichenko did not respond and only sent her a few pictures after.

Another American soldier, who was part of Young's battalion and goes by the alias AJ, also told Insider that Miroshnichenko had a "drinking problem" and frequently called up relatives of dead soldiers drunk, calling it "despicable."

Miroshnichenko has since been fired from his post as the battalion's commander. The Armed Forces of Ukraine did not respond to Insider's request for comment. Nor did Miroshnichenko.

A few days after Young's death, the State Department confirmed that two Americans had died in Ukraine, but did not name them, citing respect for their families.

Lucyszyn's parents, George and Kathryn Lucyszyn, told NBC-affiliated TV station WECT at the time that they were officially informed of their son's death by the State Department.

A State Department spokesperson told Insider that when a US citizen dies abroad, it will provide as much assistance as possible, which can include attempting to locate and inform the next-of-kin, providing information on a local burial, or returning remains to the US.

It did not comment on this particular case.

Julia told Insider that Young said he needed to go to Ukraine to help fight off the Russian invasion because it was his duty to protect the free world.

"We can't forget about what happened because people who just wanted to help Ukraine, and who died because of this ... they are heroes," she said.

"What he did, it is something extraordinary," she added.

Read the original article on Business Insider