An American man born in Minnesota has been killed in Ukraine.
The death of James “Jimmy” Hill, of Diggs, Idaho, was reported Thursday by his sister.
In a Facebook post, she said he was waiting in a bread line with several other people when they were gunned down by Russian military snipers. Ukrainian officials reported that 10 people were killed Wednesday in Chernihiv while standing in the bread line.
In a Facebook post late Thursday morning, Cheryl Gordon said her brother was killed in Chernihiv – a city about two hours north of Kyiv.
Chernihiv, a city northeast of Kyiv and close to the Russian border, has seen some of the most intense shelling from Russian forces since the war began more than three weeks ago.
“My brother Jimmy Hill was killed yesterday in Chernihiv, Ukraine,” Gordon posted. “He was waiting in a bread line with several other people when they were gunned down by Russian military snipers. His body was found in the street by the local police.”
Hill was living in Chernihiv to help care for his partner, who was being treated at a local hospital.
A former associate professor in the Foreign Language and Philology Departments at University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice and a counseling psychologist, Hill also taught at the Warsaw School of Social Psychology.
Hill spent half the year in Ukraine and teaching at universities in the Czech Republic, Austria, Germany, Finland and Poland, so he could be with Ira, said his sister, Katya Hill.
Hill often traveled to Ukraine yearly to visit his partner, according to his longtime friend Karin Moseley, who said the couple had been together for around 13 years.
Months before Russian troops attacked Ukraine, Hill went there to be with his Ukranian partner, Irina, who has multiple sclerosis. When war broke out, the American stayed despite the deteriorating conditions in the northern Ukrainian city of Chernihiv.
Days before his death, a local news report on KIDK, a dual television station in Idaho Falls, Idaho.
Hill’s sister says the family received confirmation of Jimmy’s death through the U.S. Embassy.
In poignant posts on Facebook in the weeks before his death, Hill described “indiscriminate bombing” in a city under siege and joked about wanting to appear “feeble-minded” if captured by the Russians.
Days before his death, Hill posted an update on his Facebook page saying, “The past two nights very limited rocket fire during the night. People are able to sleep. We have food. I went to market yesterday and bought food for kitchen staff, cabbage, garlic, carrots and onions. “
“They can add that to the only food we get which is millet three times a day and some soup. I use to like millet,” the post continued. “The shooting started about 2 hours ago. We would like to try and break out of here. We are hoping for ceasefire and green corridor.”
“It would be a pity to come all this way and after years of waiting for a drug to stop her disease progression and to go home empty-handed,” wrote Hill. “We need rituximab or something similar. Without it Ira will not be able to survive much longer. There is bad luck in this world and it’s falling down all over Ukraine and it’s people now.”
“It’s nobody’s fault except the psychos in the Kremlin, one man especially,” said Hill, in a clear reference to Russian President Vladimir Putin. “His miserable existence is bad luck for everyone. Of all the millions of his father’s sperm to find his mom’s egg, his made it. Were condoms available in Russia 69 years ago?”
His social media page shared his perspective as events unfolded.
“We are staying on 3rd floor in Hospital. Most patients in basement bomb shelter. But cold down there and no internet,” he wrote on Feb. 26, two days after the invasion began.
Four days later, he said: “Nobody in Chernihiv is safe. Indiscriminate bombing. … Ukrainian forces hold city but are surrounded. It’s a siege here. Nobody in. Nobody out.”