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KYIV, Ukraine — A former U.S. Marine has been accused of raping and beating an American woman in Western Ukraine.

Ryan Michael Burke, 38, is being sought by Ukrainian and Polish police after the woman reported the alleged assault to authorities. The woman, whose name is being withheld to protect her privacy, had traveled from the United States to Lviv, Ukraine, to volunteer as a medical worker. 

The woman reported to authorities that Burke, whom she recently met for the first time in Lviv, told her that he was working for Samaritan’s Purse, a relief organization with an emergency field hospital in the city, and that he had close links with local police — claims which have subsequently been disproven. He was staying in a hotel in Lviv with a number of unidentified companions, though it remains unclear exactly what he was doing in Ukraine. He fled after the alleged assault and his whereabouts remain unknown.

Because she was convinced that Burke had influence with the local police, the victim crossed the border to Poland to file charges, escorted by an American journalist to whom she had turned for help. Polish and Ukrainian police have issued a warrant for Burke’s arrest, and border security is on the lookout for him should he attempt to cross from Ukraine into Poland. 

Burke served with the Marine Corps’ 4th Reconnaissance Battalion in San Antonio, Texas, according to his LinkedIn profile, and he has a tattoo on his left bicep depicting a Marine reconnaissance logo with a skull, wings, and a paddle. He has past affiliations with a nongovernmental organization named Concilium and has worked for the Department of State as a contractor. 

The woman is currently in Poland receiving medical attention for injuries sustained during the attack. The U.S. Embassy in Poland has been informed of the incident and is providing assistance. A State Department official confirmed they were aware of reports of such a case but “given privacy considerations [had] no details to confirm at this time.”

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Andrew Milburn retired from the Marine Corps as a colonel in 2019 after a 31-year career as an infantry and special operations officer. His last position in uniform was Deputy Commander of Special Operations Central (SOCCENT), and prior to that commanding officer of the Marine Raider Regiment and Combined Special Operations Task Force – Iraq. Since retiring, he has written a critically acclaimed memoir, When the Tempest Gathers, and has had articles published in a number of national publications. He is currently on assignment for Task & Purpose in Ukraine. Follow him on Twitter at @andymilburn8.

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