American Russell Bentley Killed Fighting for Russia in Ukraine

American Russell Bentley, a pro-Russian fighter in Ukraine, killed in Donetsk. His death raises questions about foreign fighters and Russian state media's role in the conflict.

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American Russell Bentley Killed Fighting for Russia in Ukraine

American Russell Bentley Killed Fighting for Russia in Ukraine

Russell Bentley, a 64-year-old U.S. citizen known for fighting with pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine since 2014, has been killed in the Russian-controlled city of Donetsk, according to Margarita Simonyan, the head of Russia's state media outlet RT. Bentley, who went by the nickname "Texas," was reported missing in Donetsk on April 8 and has now been confirmed dead.

Simonyan stated that Bentley had been "fighting there for our guys" and working with Russia's Sputnik news service, but did not provide details on how he died. The "Vostok" battalion, with which Bentley fought, also confirmed his death and called for "exemplary punishment for those who killed Russell Bentley," suggesting he did not die in a Ukrainian attack.

Prior to his death, police in the Russian-controlled Donetsk region had reported that Bentley went missing after going to help victims of a Ukrainian strike on Donetsk. Bentley's wife, Lyudmila, had claimed on a Telegram channel that he had been "abducted" by Russian soldiers from a tank battalion, calling on them to let him go.

Bentley, a self-declared communist, had joined pro-Moscow separatists in Ukraine to fight against Kyiv in 2014 and was later granted Russian citizenship. He was known to have fought in key battles during the conflict and had been described by Russian state media as a war correspondent. Bentley also produced propaganda videos for Russia's state-owned Sputnik news agency.

Why this matters: The death of an American citizen fighting for Russia in Ukraine highlights the complex nature of the ongoing conflict and the involvement of foreign fighters on both sides. It also raises questions about the role of Russian state media in promoting and supporting such individuals.

Alexander Kofman, the head of the public chamber of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR), stated that Bentley's murder would cause "colossal reputational losses" for the DPR. Bentley's colleague warned those responsible for his death, saying "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 exact circumstances surrounding Bentley's death remain unclear as investigations continue.

Key Takeaways

  • U.S. citizen Russell Bentley, 64, killed in Russian-controlled Donetsk, Ukraine.
  • Bentley fought with pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine since 2014, held Russian citizenship.
  • Circumstances of Bentley's death remain unclear, with conflicting reports on how he died.
  • Bentley's death highlights involvement of foreign fighters on both sides of Ukraine conflict.
  • Bentley's murder could cause "colossal reputational losses" for Russia-backed Donetsk forces.