Sister of US citizen killed in Ukraine recounts Jimmy Hill's final days

Sister of Jimmy Hill says new information suggests he was killed while en route to see his partner at a hospital

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Katya Hill, sister of slain U.S. citizen Jimmy Hill, spoke to reporters Saturday about her brother's death in Ukraine.

Jimmy Hill was reported dead Wednesday morning after a Russian bomb exploded in the city of Chernihiv. Jimmy Hill was in Ukraine at the time to help his partner get critical health care procedures when he was reportedly killed in a breadline. But Katya Hill updated the press on new discoveries in the circumstances of her brother's death.

"Although initial reports indicated that he was killed in a breadline, the State Department informed us that his death was from a Russian bomb. Jimmy was in a civilian area of the city near the Chernihiv hospital. The State Department has not yet contacted the family to let us know the specifics," Hill told the press.

AMERICAN KILLED BY RUSSIAN FORCES IN UKRAINE A 'HELPER, A PEACEMAKER': SISTER SAYS

"My brother was in Chernihiv with the purpose of organizing medical treatment for his life's partner, Irina Teslenko," Hill added. "She has multiple sclerosis, and Jimmy has been by her side for years as the disease attacked her body. He never gave up hope that he would find treatment that would help stop the progression of MS."

Photo of Jimmy Hill provided by Hill family

Photo of Jimmy Hill provided by Hill family

Katya Hill received word from the U.S. government on the updated circumstances of Jimmy's death moments before addressing the media.  

"I did receive – minutes before this news conference started – more specifics about how my brother died, the circumstances, the woman that I indicated my brother had befriended that lived near the hospital. Her name is Katrina," Hill explained. "Katrina and Jimmy had gone out for a chance to locate busses that might be taking people out of town here on a safe corridor. When they got to the line, there were over a thousand people waiting to try to get on a bus to get out.

"So my brother decided to turn back, go back to the hospital to Irene's side. And that's when the bomb hit, Katrina shared on our messenger group."

The frontline city of Chernihiv has been under heavy bombardment over the last few days, with at least 53 civilians killed in a 24-hour period, the region's governor said. This figure could not be independently confirmed.

Hill elaborated on the Russian tactics observed in the bombing, warning that the military will use lulls in action to draw civilians out into the open.

"The strategy that is being used in killing civilians – there'll be intense bombing that will then stop and there'll be no bombing for an hour or several hours," she explained "People then feel safe, and they don't have food, so stores and breadlines will open. They'll go out and stand in line to try to get bread or food or other supplies, and then the bombing resumes, and that bombing targets those lines."

Hill told reporters that she had special thanks for U.S. senators Amy Klobachar and Tina Smith, Democrats from Minnesota., and Bob Casey, D-Pa., for their help connecting the family with the U.S. government for more information.

Photo of Jimmy Hill provided by Hill family

Photo of Jimmy Hill provided by Hill family

"The family wishes to thank Sen. Casey of Pennsylvania and Senator Smith and Klobuchar from Minnesota for reaching out to the State Department on the family's behalf," she said.

This will be Katya Hill's final public appearance for some time as she intends to spend the coming weeks grieving with her family in private, she said.

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In the weeks before his death, Jimmy Hill described in a series of harrowing Facebook posts the dire conditions in the embattled city. He posted a picture of his partner under blankets in her hospital bed.

"Nobody in Chernihiv is safe. Indiscriminate bombing," he wrote March 2. "Ukrainian forces hold city but are surrounded. It's a siege here. Nobody in. Nobody out."

Photo of Jimmy Hill (center) provided by the Hill family.

Photo of Jimmy Hill (center) provided by the Hill family.

As the days passed, he documented the escalating shelling and artillery fire and a desire to flee the country, but he worried it was too dangerous and that his partner was too weak to make the journey.

"It's a living nightmare, but we are alive," Hill wrote March 11. 

He is at the least the second U.S. citizen to be killed by Russian forces in Ukraine since the invasion began. Journalist and filmmaker Brent Renaud was shot and killed by Russian troops while reporting on the refugee crisis.

Fox News's Rebecca Rosenberg contributed to this report.