AWOL Navy SEAL killed while fighting in Ukraine

AWOL Navy SEAL killed while fighting in Ukraine

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AWOL Navy SEAL killed while fighting in Ukraine

Smoke billows during fighting between Ukrainian and Russian forces in Soledar, Donetsk region, Ukraine, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2023. (AP Photo/Libkos)

A former Navy SEAL was killed earlier this week while fighting in eastern Ukraine, the military service confirmed Friday. 

Daniel Swift, a special warfare operator 1st class who deserted the military nearly four years ago, died Wednesday from injuries sustained when the Ukrainian unit he was fighting with came under Russian attack, Time first reported. 

The Navy confirmed to The Hill that Swift has been “in an active deserter status since March 11, 2019.” 

The service did not offer specifics as to how Swift came to be involved in the war, noting that they “cannot speculate as to why the former Sailor was in Ukraine.” 

The State Department, meanwhile, confirmed that a U.S. citizen fighting in Ukraine had recently died but did not give details.  

“We are in touch with his family and providing all possible consular assistance,” a State Department spokesperson told The Hill. “Out of respect for the privacy of the family during this difficult time, we have nothing further to add.” 

Swift, who was from Oregon, joined the Navy in 2005 and received a number of awards and decorations for fighting in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, according to his service records obtained by Time. 

But his record also contains a break in service for nearly two years, from the beginning of 2014 to the end of 2015, without explanation, CNN reported. 

Swift also had his Trident pin removed, a major punishment taken when a Trident Review Board deems a sailor unfit to be a Navy SEAL.

At least seven U.S. citizens have been killed in Ukraine since the start of Russia’s attack on the country on Feb. 24, though the Biden administration has urged Americans not to travel there to fight. 

The last known U.S. citizen to die in Ukraine was Timothy Griffin, who was killed in action in November during combat in eastern Ukraine. 

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