Pro-Putin American Fighting Against Ukraine Has Been Killed

(Sputnik/Mikhail Metzel/Pool via REUTERS)
(Sputnik/Mikhail Metzel/Pool via REUTERS)

Russell Bentley, a 64-year-old American who has been fighting with pro-Russian fighters against Ukraine since 2014, was kidnapped and killed, according to his battalion and Russian media reports.

Russell, who was known by his call sign “Texas,” died in Donetsk, Margarita Simonyan, the head of pro-Kremlin RT, said in a Telegram post.

“He fought there for our people,” Simonyan said. “Terrible. Kingdom of heaven.”

The battalion he worked in, “Vostok,” confirmed he died in a social media post Friday.

“Russell Bentley was killed,” the battalion said. “We have to agree that such people and their cover-ups make evil banal.”

An official from Donetsk confirmed Bentley died, adding that Bentley’s wife informed him of the death.

Bentley had gone missing earlier this month after reportedly going to help after a Ukrainian strike in Donetsk, according to local police. He and his wife had been in line to deal with some administrative documents, when he went to go help. But when his wife went looking for him she only found his car, with his baseball cap, glasses, and a broken phone, according to news outlet Mash. His colleagues had reportedly suspected him of being a western spy.

Americans have for years been going to Ukraine to fight in the war. Since Russia invaded Ukraine again in 2022, Americans have joined foreign fighter legions to help Ukraine defend against Russia’s unprompted invasion, including Trevor Reed, the U.S. Marine who was freed from Russian prison, as The Daily Beast reported.

The commander of the Vostok battalion, Alexander Khodakovsky, indicated that those who killed Bentley would pay a high price.

“The military department must show that it knows how not only to remind people of responsibility for discrediting, but also to restore order,” he said on social media.

His wife, Lyudmila Bentley, shared earlier on Thursday that she did not know where he was.

“Today is the 10th day since Russell disappeared. To this day, I do not know his whereabouts,” she said.

She did not immediately return a request for comment Friday.

One of Bentley’s reported colleagues shared a warning for those who had taken him, which his wife recounted on her Telegram.

“Do not commit sin. Let this dude go. God forbid he loses a single hair, I won’t fucking let you live in peace,” the colleague, Andey Buryat, reportedly said. “I’ll fucking make you miserable.”

The State Department told The Daily Beast it is aware of reports that an American is missing in Donetsk, but declined to share more information on Friday.

“We are aware of reports of a U.S. citizen missing in the Donetsk region in Ukraine. Our ability to verify reports of incidents regarding U.S. citizens in Ukraine is extremely limited,” a spokesperson said.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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