'Ambushed': Former Marine Is Latest Veteran Killed in Ukraine War

Smoke rises from buildings in this aerial view of Bakhmut, in the Donetsk region, Ukraine, Wednesday
Smoke rises from buildings in this aerial view of Bakhmut, in the Donetsk region, Ukraine, Wednesday, April 26, 2023. (Libkos/AP Photo)

A Marine veteran was killed last week in an eastern Ukrainian city where the country's military has been locked for months in intense fighting with Russian forces, according to multiple sources.

Cooper "Harris" Andrews, 26, was killed in Bakhmut, where he was ambushed by Russian forces while defending evacuees, journalist Jake Hanrahan tweeted Sunday on Twitter. Hanrahan said Andrews was killed alongside other "fighters" and was a member of Popular Front, a grassroots conflict journalism platform.

CNN, citing Andrews' mother, reported Monday that he was hit by a mortar on what Ukrainians call the "Road of Life" because it is used to resupply its forces and evacuate civilians. The State Department, when reached by Military.com, would only confirm the death of a U.S. citizen in Ukraine.

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"We are in touch with the family and providing all possible consular assistance," a spokesman for the State Department said in an email. The department said it had nothing further to add "out of respect for the family's privacy during this difficult time."

An organization calling itself "The Black Headquarter" said that Andrews was one of its members and that it would "always remember him as a brave fighter and a reliable comrade" in an Instagram post Sunday.

The group said Andrews joined them after initially being a member of Ukraine's International Legion. Andrews' mother told CNN that he left America in November for the Legion, but his contract ended in March.

Military.com has previously spoken with other fighters in the war who similarly first joined the Legion before going off to find other, smaller organizations to fight with. This is often done out of a desire to be closer to the front lines or to serve with specific people.

Alex Drueke and Andy Huynh, the pair of American veterans who were captured and held by Russian-aligned forces for months, similarly joined the Legion before eventually ending up with "Task Force Baguette."

According to records provided by the Marine Corps, Andrews entered the service in January 2017 and served five years as an electronics technician for ground vehicles.

He left the Marines as a sergeant, never having deployed. He was last assigned to Headquarters Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.

According to a count by Task & Purpose, Andrews is at least the 12th American to be killed in the conflict and the fourth Marine veteran.

Before Andrews, the last American known to have died in the conflict was Daniel W. Swift, a former member of the Navy SEALs who, according to official records, deserted the service in March 2019. His death was reported in January 2023.

In April, Military.com also reported that the family of a highly decorated Marine officer who went missing in the early days of Ukraine's call for foreign volunteers was confirmed killed by his family.

-- Konstantin Toropin can be reached at konstantin.toropin@military.com. Follow him on Twitter @ktoropin.

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