FRIENDS of James Hill, who was killed by Russian snipers while waiting in a Ukrainian bread line, are desperate to reach his hospitalized partner – and fear she doesn’t know he’s dead.
The American English teacher—affectionately known as “Jimmy” or “Jim”—was gunned down this week While he is shopping for groceries in Chernihiv, his partner Ira remains seriously ill in the hospital awaiting MS treatment.
His family confirmed the 67-year-old’s death on social media after he was contacted by the US Embassy, and his sister Cheryl Hill Gordon wrote: “His body was found in the street by local police.”
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed this on Thursday An American was killed by Russian shelling in Chernihiv on March 17, but they did not confirm Hill’s identity.
His partner has been identified as Iryna Teslenko, who has her elderly mother at her bedside after the family was confined in a Chernihiv regional hospital 90 miles outside of Kyiv. Ukraine.
Close friend Vincent Angelo Rosano, who has known Hill for more than a decade, says he desperately tried to reach the couple to tell them about his death.
Speaking to The Sun from his home in Italy, where he has lived since leaving Ukraine in March, he said: “Ira is very, very ill and I called her and tried to figure out how to reach her mum .
“They probably don’t even know if he’s dead or alive, he just went out to buy bread.
“I spoke to another group of Ukrainian friends and we cannot contact them.
“They were only in the hospital with about six people because all the nurses and doctors were evacuated.
“I hope people take action and I find a way to send money to Ira and her mother, we just don’t know what’s happening at the moment.
“Ira is in bed, she is not well at all, sometimes she cannot even speak. I don’t know if they are safe.
“To be honest I’m really shocked because I only heard from him the other day and then I lost touch.
“I didn’t know what was going on and then I got the message.”
Hill’s sister Katya told US magazine Kare11 the family was unaware of Ira’s condition and confirmed they were confined in the hospital for days, sometimes without gas, electricity or water.
“He really loved her that much,” she said of their relationship. “In this world, it’s hard to find a soulmate, and that’s what he called Ira. As his soulmate.”
The Sun reached out to Hill’s family for further comments but did not hear a reply.
Vincent, who confirmed Hill had two children from a previous relationship, said he was devoted to Ira, who developed multiple sclerosis shortly after they started dating more than a decade ago.
But he says he was fully supportive of her, and although he has traveled to other parts of Europe and the US for work, he has always made sure that her medical needs are attended to.
In the past few weeks, Hill has reported on Facebook about the dire conditions in the Chernihiv hospital and provided daily information about the bombings and attacks by Russian soldiers.
“Never expressed hate”
His family say they last spoke to him on March 5, but he posted on March 15, writing: “Not allowed to take pictures. Spies all over town. [The] Bombing has intensified, no way out.”
He later added: “Intense bombardment! Still alive. Limited food. room very cold.
Vincent says although he wanted to flee, he would never leave his partner, and in the run-up to his death he described Hill as “depressed” when people around him were killed trying to flee the city.
“It was impossible for him. The situation in the hospital and nearby. I said, ‘Jim, I’ll call you every day.’” Vincent said.
“He didn’t want to leave at all, but by the end he was quite depressed and wanted to evacuate with his partner and her mother.
“Obviously he was scared of the whole situation. Jim already had a very pro-Ukrainian position, he felt very strongly for Ukraine’s independence.
“He never expressed hate, especially towards the Russian people, he just didn’t like Putin and so on.”
Vincent continued: “I cherished him so much and I still don’t think he’s dead, I’m having a really hard time.
“He was a very pleasant companion, he was always positive and optimistic, he cracked jokes, he had a great sense of humor, he was humble and passionate about his job.
He didn’t want to leave at all, but in the end he was quite depressed and wanted to evacuate with his partner.
Vincent Angelo Rosano
“I’m just shocked, all the people around me who suffered were good people.”
Vincent, who was born in Italy and lived in Australia during his first marriage, has dual citizenship and moved to Ukraine after meeting his second wife online.
“My ex-wife is still there, I worry about her and my two children – one is eight, one is 10 and a stepdaughter who is 16. I’m stressed out by what’s going on.”
Another friend of Hill’s, Anthony van der Craats, told The Sun: “I liked Jimmy and spent many days with him in Ukraine. I’m really sad about his death.
A HUMBLE MAN
“He was a kind soul who wanted to give something back to Ukraine. He was teaching English and networking, but he was semi-retired.”
Anthony simply added, “This is a stupid war that should never have happened.”
At least ten people were killed in Wednesday’s attack, when horror footage showed bodies lying on the ground.
A reporter for Ukrainian publications Supilne on site in Chernihiv first shared the video online.
It states: “In Chernihiv, Russian troops shot at people queuing for bread in one of the city’s dormitories.
“This was reported by Public’s correspondent from the scene.
“According to their statement, the shelling took place on March 16 at around 10 a.m. The shelling killed at least 10 civilians.”
The US Embassy in Kyiv also reported on the alleged massacre.
“Today Russian forces shot dead 10 people queuing for bread in Chernihiv,” it tweeted.
“Such terrible attacks must stop. We are considering all available options to ensure accountability for all atrocities in Ukraine.”
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https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/17988860/jimmy-hill-ukraine-putin-american-killed-today-news/ James Hill’s partner “may not know that the teacher was shot dead by Russian snipers during the bloody invasion of Ukraine,” says his pal