Houston News & Search
An Austin man has spent more than two years raising money on crowdfunding websites to fight against Ukraine on behalf of Russia.
The campaign was called “Fact Finding Mission to Donbass.” It has since been taken down from the site. A request for comment has been made to GoFundMe to see if the campaign violated the site’s terms of service.
“The US-installed government in Kiev says the people of the Donbass region are terrorists and that Russian troops have invaded Eastern Ukraine,” Bentley said on GoFundMe page. “The people of Donbass say they are defending themselves against a regime that is neo-nazi and committing war crimes against civilians. One of them is lying. So, I am going to see for myself and report back.”
The Russia-Ukraine conflict dates back to March 2014 when the Ukrainian territory of Crimea was annexed by Russia. Today, the territory is under Russia’s control and is at the heart of tensions between both countries, the Huffington Post reported.
Since arriving in Donbass, Bentley has become a one man media machine. Armed with a “rocket propelled grenade launcher and tasked with repelling Ukrainian forces at Donetsk airport,” Bentley threw himself into conflict and was once involved with the Essence of Time, a Russian movement, the BBC reported.
Bentley regularly produces videos on YouTube, raises money on his website, and has been interviewed by Vice and the Guardian. Before his time abroad, Bentley was a tree trimmer in Austin. A video he saw in 2014 of a Ukrainian air attack on a building in Luhansk, an eastern Ukraine city, partly inspired the GoFundMe campaign.
“This is the hope for the future of the world,” Bentley told the Guardian in Sept. 2015. “Because if Donbass falls, and the fascists are right on the borders of Russia, once nuclear weapons start shooting it ain’t just going to be one or two, it’s going to be all of them, dude, and that’s it for all of us.”
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The comment request made to Bentley did not go over well.
“I’ve been fighting genuine Nazis here for over two years, and the first interest shown by you and your rag is about how to try to cut my funding,” Bentley told Chron.com. “I’ll be writing my response to Bright’s hit piece in the next 24 hours. Keep an eye out for it on my website, www.russelltexasbentley.com and feel free to quote it. In the mean time, if you want to interview me, come to Donetsk.”
Houston News & Search