Texan Volunteer for Putin's Cause Russell Bentley Goes Missing Amid Ukraine Conflict

Texan Volunteer for Putin’s Cause Russell Bentley Goes Missing Amid Ukraine Conflict

Since Monday, a pro-Kremlin Texan who went to fight alongside Russian military in Donbas, Ukraine, years ago, has not been seen or heard from.

Russell Bentley vanished in the Donetsk Oblast, which is under Russian administration, according to Reuters, which cited Russian online news source Mash.

He was not engaged in combat in the ongoing conflict.

The 64-year-old former pothead, who volunteered to fight against Ukrainian forces in 2014 and left behind a fiancée who was a yoga instructor, went by the military call sign “Texas.” To pay for his trip to Ukraine, he turned to crowdsourcing.

Bentley, a former US Army soldier and self-described socialist, obtained Russian citizenship and never went back to the US. Rather, he began serving as a correspondent for the state-run news agency Sputnik.

Texan Volunteer for Putin's Cause Russell Bentley Goes Missing Amid Ukraine Conflict

On Saturday, allegations that his disappearance was the result of a kidnapping proliferated on social media with unverified reports that his corpses had been found on the outskirts of Gorlovka.

Read Also: Violence Erupts in Russian-Controlled Donetsk, Claiming 27 Lives in Brutal Attack

A lady posing as Lyudmila, his spouse, posted a video message pleading for his safe return in the meantime. After a shelling by the Ukrainians, she says he left to support the Russian soldiers and never came back.

When she went to seek for him, she claimed to have only found his phone, which she claimed was broken, along with his car, baseball cap, and glasses.

Bentley was featured in a story headlined “The Bizarre Story of How a Hardcore Texas Leftist Became a Frontline Putin Propagandist” in Rolling Stone two years ago.

Bentley ran a YouTube account for many years until it was shut down in 2022. He expressed his opinions about the current conflict, referring to himself as “The Donbas Cowboy.”