Russell Bonner Bentley, a Texas man, faced brickbats on social media after his video supporting Russian invasion from the frontline went viral. Bentley shot the video praising the Russian military before their march towards Kyiv.
Bentley, a Texas native who describes himself as a pro-Russian communist, is a drug-trafficker who has been on a run from the U.S. Marshals according to Texas Monthly.
Bentley Calls Russians Liberators of 'Ukraine'
Describing Bentley as an Army engineer based in Germany, a hard-partying musician in South Padre, a marijuana legalization activist in Minnesota and Alaska, Texas Monthly reported that he had even competed for a seat in the U.S. Senate in early nineties.
Fascinated by the conflict, Bentley arrived in Donetsk, Ukraine, in December 2014. He then joined a militia group, the Vostok Battalion, which was led by Alexander Khodakovsky. A pro-Russian, the recent video shows Bentley praising the might of Russian military.
"I am on the frontline with the T-95 and liberators of Ukraine," Bentley says as he points towards a line of Russian tanks marked 'Z' ready for invasion.
"These guys are tough, these guys are ready, and there is plenty of them. So far, Russia has used about 10 percent of its military power and we are getting ready to bring the hammer down."
"These guys are gonna save and liberate all the good people in Ukraine and the bad people ..Boom kick their ass," Bentley says in the 40 second video which has received over 1.5 million views.
Social Media Slams Bentley
Sharing the clipping Borzou Daragahi, an international correspondent of Independent, tweeted, "Just a good ol' boy apparently embedded with Russian forces in Ukraine."
The video invited a lot of wrath on social media. "Dear Ukraine: If you happen to find Russell Bentley on the battlefield somewhere...if he surrenders, please bring him to the Polish Border and hand him to any soldier wearing a on their arm," tweeted a user.
"A 61-year-old American drug dealer and fugitive. Bentley Russell Bonner was sentenced to prison, but managed to escape the country and went to fight in the Donbass for pro-Russian militants," read another tweet.
"So... proud texan native and extremely rabid communist russell bentley is fighting with a donbass regiment in ukraine in support of putin's army. this is who the @gop and @foxnews supports. it's not capitalism. it's power and authoritarianism. it's anti-american.