Minnesota-born Jimmy Hill killed in Ukraine while trying to find food
(FOX 9) - The American killed during a military strike by Russia in Ukraine has been identified as Jimmy Hill.
Family members confirm to FOX 9 that 68-year-old Hill, who was born in Eveleth, Minnesota and graduated from Mahtomedi High School, was killed in the city of Chernihiv in Ukraine while trying to find food.
"He was only going out to try and find more food because the hospital ration on millet, and that's all they were getting every day was small portions of millet, so he was going out to get more food to bring back," said Katya Hill, Jimmy's sister.
"His last communication was "intense bombing. Can't charge phone," said Hill's sister.
Before the war began, she expressed her concerns to him.
"My biggest fear, and I was warning my brother about staying over there, was Putin (invading) he said, 'No he's not. He wouldn't dare invade. This isn't going to happen,' and I said, 'Jim, look what he's doing with those tanks,'" said Hill's sister.
Hill's family told FOX 9 that he was working as a social worker in Ukraine. His longtime partner, who is from Ukraine, suffers from multiple sclerosis and has been in the hospital since the Russian invasion broke out. Hill would spend half of his year in the U.S., running Airbnb bookings in Idaho and Montana, and half of the year in Ukraine.
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The State Department confirmed Thursday that an American had been killed during heavy artillery shelling in that city over the past 24 hours.
"We offer our sincerest to the family on their loss," a State Department spokesperson said. "Out of respect to the family during this difficult time, we have no further comment."
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 is at least the second U.S. citizen to be killed in the conflict, after the killing of journalist and filmmaker Brent Renaud last week.
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MARCH 19 UPDATE: It was initially reported that Jimmy was gunned down while waiting in a breadline, but Katya said the family had received new details through their senators and from Jimmy’s friends in Ukraine Saturday.
Katya said Jimmy and a friend who lives near the hospital had gone to an area where they had heard buses were waiting to evacuate people who wanted to leave the city via a safe corridor. There were more than a thousand people already waiting in line, and Jimmy told the friend he was going to return to the hospital. The friend told Katya that Russian shelling began as he was leaving, and the blast that killed her brother had caused the friend to lose hearing in one of her ears.
Katya said her family is still waiting to hear directly from the U.S. State Department to get details of where his body is.