Willie Joseph Cancel, 22, was a former Marine in the U.S. Army, but until recently served as a warden in a Tennessee prison. He also worked as a mercenary and fought for a private military company in Ukraine. “But he wanted to go because he believed in the Ukrainian struggle,” said his mother, Rebecca Cabrera. “He wanted to be a part of that fight: to make sure it didn’t get that far, but that our American soldiers didn’t have to get involved.” Cancel was killed in a clash with the Ukrainian army on Monday, April 25.
US President Joe Biden on Friday offered condolences to Cancel’s family. “This is very sad news,” the president said. “He’s leaving a baby.” The White House is still asking Americans not to go to war with Ukraine. “We understand how Americans can help, but there are other ways to do it,” said spokeswoman Jen Zhaki.