A former United States Marine from Tennessee has reportedly been killed while fighting alongside Ukrainian soldiers in that country’s war against Russia.

Willy Joseph Cancel, 22, worked for a military contractor who sent him to fight in Ukraine, according to his mother Rebecca Cabrera. He was killed Monday.

“He wanted to go over because he believed in what Ukraine was fighting for, and he wanted to be a part of it to contain it there so it didn’t come here, and that maybe our American soldiers wouldn’t have to be involved in it,” Cabrera said.

According to Cabrera, Cancel’s body has not yet been found.

“They haven’t found his body,” she said. “They are trying, the men that were with him, but it was either grab his body or get killed, but we would love for him to come back to us.”

Originally from New York, Cancel worked as a corrections officer for CoreCivic, a privately-owned prison company, at a correctional facility in Tennessee.

“We wish to extend our condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Cancel, including his former coworkers at the Trousdale Turner Correctional Center, where he was previously employed as a correctional officer,” CoreCivic said in a statement. “As a correctional officer, Mr. Cancel served his state and his community by helping maintain a safe, secure environment where inmates can participate in life-changing reentry programs. We are grateful for his service and saddened by his loss.”

Cancel is the first known American to die fighting in Ukraine.

The war between Russia and Ukraine began on February 20, and has raged since.

Alongside its military, many of its 43 million citizens have stayed to fight against the Russian aggressors, with the government promising to arm them with weapons.

The United States has not been a neutral party in the war.

Though it has not sent troops to fight in Ukraine, and has promised that it will not take such a step, President Joe Biden Thursday asked Congress to send $33 billion in foreign aid to the war torn nation.

“The Administration is requesting $20.4 billion in additional security and military assistance for Ukraine and for U.S. efforts to strengthen European security in cooperation with our NATO allies and other partners in the region,” according to a White House statement. “This includes $5 billion in additional drawdown authority, $6 billion for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, and $4 billion for the State Department’s Foreign Military Financing program. These resources will put urgently needed equipment into the hands of Ukraine’s military and police, as well as help NATO deter and defend against Russian aggression over the long-term.”

The other $13 billion that the White House requested would largely be used to bolster Ukraine’s economy and provide humanitarian assistance.

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Pete D’Abrosca is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected].