FRIENDS of James Hill, who was slain by Russian snipers while waiting in a Ukraine bread line, are frantically trying to reach his hospitalized partner – and fear she may not know he is dead.

The American English teacher – affectionately called “Jimmy” or “Jim” – was gunned down this week while out shopping for food in Chernihiv as his partner Ira remains seriously ill in hospital awaiting MS treatment.

Teacher Hill has been described as a passionate and humble man who was devoted to his sick partner

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Teacher Hill has been described as a passionate and humble man who was devoted to his sick partnerCredit: Facebook/Jimmy Hill
Footage showed the chilling aftermath of the Russian attack which left 10 dead

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Footage showed the chilling aftermath of the Russian attack which left 10 deadCredit: SOCIAL NEWS

His family confirmed the 67-year-old’s death on social media after being contacted by the US Embassy, with his sister Cheryl Hill Gordon posting: “His body was found in the street by the local police.”

The State Department confirmed Thursday that 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 by her bedside after the family became trapped in a Chernihiv regional hospital 90 miles outside Kyiv, Ukraine.

Close friend Vincent Angelo Rosano, who has known Hill for more than a decade, says he has been desperately trying to reach the pair to tell them of his death.

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Speaking to The Sun from his home in Italy, where he has resided since leaving Ukraine in March, he said: “Ira is very, very ill, and I’ve been calling her and trying to figure out how to get in touch with her mother.

“They probably don’t even know if he’s dead or alive, he just went out to buy bread.

“I’ve been talking to another group of Ukrainian friends and we cannot get in touch with them.

“They were only in the hospital with about six people because all of the nurses and doctors were evacuated.

“I hope people are in action and I find a way to send money to Ira and her mom, we just don’t know what is happening at the minute.

“Ira is in bed, she’s not good at all, at times she can’t even speak. I don’t know if they are safe.

“To be honest, I’m really shocked because I just heard from him the other day, and then I lost contact.

“I didn’t know what was happening and then received the news.”

Vincent, who confirmed Hill had two children from a previous relationship, said he was devoted to Ira, who was struck down by Multiple Sclerosis just after they began dating more than a decade ago.

But he says he was fully supportive, and despite traveling to other parts of Europe and the US for work, he always made sure she was taken care of when it came to her medical needs.

Over the course of the past few weeks, Hill had been posting on Facebook about the dire conditions inside the Chernihiv hospital and gave daily updates on the bombings and attacks by Russian soldiers.

His family says they last spoke to him on March 5, but he last posted on March 15, writing: “Not allowed to take photos. Spies throughout the city. [The] bombing has intensified no way out.”

Vincent says although he wanted to escape, he would never leave his partner and described Hill as “depressed” in the lead up to his death as people were killed around him.

‘NEVER EXPRESSED HATE’

“It was impossible for him. The situation at the hospital and nearby. I said, ‘Jim, I’m going to call you every day.’

“He didn’t want to leave at all, but towards 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-Ukraine position, he felt very strongly about the independence of Ukraine.

“He never expressed hate, particularly for the Russian people, he just didn’t like Putin and so on.”

Vincent continued: “I held him in such high regard and I still don’t think he’s dead, I’m really having a hard time with it.

“He was very pleasant company, he was always positive and upbeat, cracking jokes, he had a great sense of humor, and humble.

He didn’t want to leave at all, but towards 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 have suffered have been 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 am worried about her and my two children – one is eight, one is 10, and a stepdaughter who is 16, I’m stressed by what is 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 am really saddened by his death.

A HUMBLE MAN

“He was a kind soul who wanted to give back to Ukraine. He taught English and networked but he was semi-retired.”

Anthony simply added: “This is a stupid war that should never have happened.”

At least 10 people were killed in Wednesday’s attack as horror footage showed bodies lying on the ground.

A reporter for Ukrainian publication Suspilne on the ground in Chernihiv first shared the video online.

It wrote: “In Chernihiv, in one of the city’s dormitories, Russian troops fired on people standing in line for bread.

“This was reported by the correspondent of Public from the scene.

“According to her, the shelling took place on March 16 around 10 am. The shelling killed at least 10 civilians.”

The US Embassy in Kyiv has also reported on the alleged massacre.

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“Today, Russian forces shot and killed 10 people standing in line for bread in Chernihiv,” it tweeted.

“Such horrific attacks must stop. We are considering all available options to ensure accountability for any atrocity crimes in Ukraine.”

Vincent Angelo Rosano has spoken of his friend's shocking death

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Vincent Angelo Rosano has spoken of his friend’s shocking deathCredit: Facebook
The 67-year-old gave followers daily updates on the war in Ukraine while trapped

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The 67-year-old gave followers daily updates on the war in Ukraine while trappedCredit: Facebook/Jimmy Hill
Hill shared photographs on Facebook of his partner Ira and her mother at the hospital

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Hill shared photographs on Facebook of his partner Ira and her mother at the hospitalCredit: Facebook/Jimmy Hill

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