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US citizen killed in Russian artillery attack in Ukraine

A family member confirmed to KARE 11 that the American citizen killed in Ukraine was a Minnesota native.

WASHINGTON — The U.S. State Department confirmed Thursday that an American citizen was killed in a Russian attack on the Ukrainian city of Chernihiv.

While the department did not immediately confirm the identity of the American, family members confirmed to KARE 11 that it was a Minnesota native who died.

James “Jimmy” Hill was living in Chernihiv, a city about two hours north of Kyiv, to help care for his partner, who was being treated at a local hospital for MS.

Hill's sister, Katya, told KARE 11's Sharon Yoo that the family received confirmation of Jimmy's death through the U.S. Embassy. 

For the last two weeks, Hill had been describing the conditions inside the Chernihiv hospital in daily Facebook posts, and provided updates on Russian bombings and attacks. 

Hill was at least the third U.S. citizen to be killed in the conflict following the death of journalist filmmaker Brent Renaud and Ukrainian-American Serge Zevlever, a Missouri-based man who ran a nonprofit adoption agency out of Ukraine. 

Credit: Katya Hill
Jimmy Hill in Ukraine

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Chernihiv police said on Facebook there was a heavy artillery attack on the city and a U.S. citizen was among the civilians killed.

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In Chernihiv, a city north of Kyiv, the capital, at least 53 people had been brought to morgues over the past 24 hours, killed during heavy Russian air attacks and ground fire, the local governor, Viacheslav Chaus, told Ukrainian TV on Thursday.

Hill's death marks yet another instance of Russia's war killing and injuring both civilians and journalists. 

American journalist Ben Hall of Fox News was seriously injured when the vehicle he was travelling in came under fire. Two of the vehicle's other passengers, Pierre Zakrzewski, 55, and Ukranian journalist Oleksandra “Sasha” Kuvshynova, 24, were both killed.

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Brent Renaud, a 50-year-old Little Rock, Arkansas, native was working on a report about refugees when his vehicle was hit at a checkpoint in Irpin. A regional police force leader shared photos on social media of Renaud's passport and press credentials for the New York Times.

The New York Times later released a statement indicating that Renaud had not been working on an assignment for the publication and the credentials he had been using had been issued several years beforehand.

Serge Zevlever, who specialized in finding homes for Ukrainian children with Down Syndrome, other special needs and teenagers, had recently returned to Ukraine with orphans that been temporarily "hosted" in the U.S. in hopes finding them a permanent home. 

According to a friend and colleague who spoke to KSDK, Zevlever was shot and killed outside his apartment in Kyiv.

Andrew Weil contributed to this report

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