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James Hill, American With Pittsburgh Connections, Killed In Russian Attack In Ukraine

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- An American with Pittsburgh connections was killed in a Russian attack in Ukraine.

James Whitney Hill
(Photo Credit: Facebook)

The United States Department of State confirmed an American citizen was killed by Russian shelling in Chernihiv on Thursday morning. The advisor to Ukraine's interior minister identified the victim as 68-year-old James Hill, from Minnesota.

Hill was sharing updates with his sister in Pittsburgh every day since the war started. She last heard from him a few days ago. The family learned of Hill's death from the U.S. embassy.

"After he said that he had no way to charge his phone, then I knew it was a matter of, are we going to hear he's in Poland safe or are we going to get the news that we didn't want to hear?" Katya Hill said.

Katya is an associate professor at the University of Pittsburg in the Department of Communication Science and Disorders. She said her brother was living in Kyiv and traveled to Chernihiv for his partner, Ira, to get multiple sclerosis treatment in a hospital.

"When I was warning him about the dangers, he did not feel that the world would let this happen because my parents raised us to see the good in people's hearts and that's how he lived," Katya said.

James Whitney Hill
(Photo Credit: KDKA)

Her brother was one of several people killed when Russian artillery opened fire on civilians Thursday morning. Katya said her brother would only leave the hospital for food, as he was trying to help others.

"The helper, the peacemaker, looking for the good in people all the time and pushing them for their best," Katya said.

Her brother was a social worker and forensic psychologist who taught all over Europe. One of his last assignments was teaching young police officers in Kyiv how to collect evidence.

James leaves behind two children and a family all over the world who will never forget him. The family is now reaching out to government officials to see if they will help locate James' body.

"The biggest thing we are struggling with right now is not knowing where his body is. So that closure of just being able to know where his body he is ... this is so hard to take," Katya said.

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