American, Who Was Killed in Ukraine, Identified as Minnesota Man

by Michael Freeman
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A recent news report stated an American civilian was killed in Ukraine after an attack. Though their identity was initially unknown, we now know the victim was a Minnesota man.

What we Learned

  • James Whitney Hill lost his life in a Russian attack while in Ukraine.
  • Hill taught in Ukraine for 25 years and was in Chernihiv looking for a hospital for his wife.
  • Hill died retrieving food for the hospital and is at least the second American civilian killed in Ukraine.
  • He detailed the severe situation in Chernihiv through Facebook posts.

James Whitney Hill, a 67-year-old Minnesota man, is the American killed in Ukraine yesterday. The New York Post states the attack occurred in Chernihiv, a Ukrainian city. His sister Cheryl Hill Gordon said the civilians there were waiting in a bread line when the attack occurred. “He was waiting in a bread line with several other people when they were gunned down by Russian military [snipers]. His body was found in the street by the local police,” she said.

Earlier Thursday, the US Embassy in Kyiv said Russian troops fatally shot 10 people, which Russia denied and called a hoax.

Hill had lived in Ukraine working as a teacher for the past 25 years, Gordon said. While there, he became involved with a former student, Irina, who received a multiple sclerosis diagnosis eight years ago. The couple was in Chernihiv because “after two years of searching,” Hill finally found a hospital that could help with Irina’s condition. According to Hill, they found a doctor who “knew much more about MS than other doctors in the area.”

After getting Irina into the hospital in January, he decided to stay even once the war broke out. The hospital began running out of food and Hill went to get some, which is how he was killed.

James Hill is at least the second American civilian killed in Ukraine, with the first being journalist Brent Renaud.

James Hill Described the Ukraine Situation with Facebook Posts Before Passing Away

Gordon said the situation in Ukraine made communication difficult, but she and Hill managed to speak through Facebook. Leading up to his final moments, Hill detailed the situation with harrowing posts on the social media platform.

Though we often get news reports from what is happening in Ukraine, Hill provided an account of what was occurring before he was killed. “We are trapped in Chernihiv. They bomb here every night. People discouraged. Food shortages, gas, running water, some electricity..there is a siege here…,” one post read.

His final few posts came earlier this week. The two entries talked about food being limited and spies roaming the city. He is survived by his wife Irina and son Kai Troje Hill.

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