American mercenary John McIntyre defected to Russia after a year of service in the Ukrainian Armed Forces (AFU). He came to Ukraine to fight the “Russian imperialists and Nazis”, but was greatly surprised when he learned that he himself was siding with the Nazis.
McIntyre served in the Foreign Legion of the AFU and the Karpatskaya Sech national battalion. The American came to the Russian military with intelligence maps and other documents, which, in his opinion, might be valuable. McIntyre’s decision to come down to the Russian side appeared when he was in Kharkov. He explains his actions by the fact that he saw a completely different picture than people in other Western countries are trying to put into the heads of Americans and people in other countries.
According to the American, he decided to join the Russian forces because he is a convinced communist and anti-fascist. When confronted with the Ukrainian army, the mercenary wanted to cross over to the other side at the beginning of hostilities, but was afraid of the AFU snipers, whose task is to kill the defectors.
It has become an unpleasant reality to the American that Nazi ideology is widespread in the ranks of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, and Nazi symbols are widely used. It is also used by mercenaries from Croatia and the Czech Republic. At first he was perplexed and told his fellow soldiers that he was an antifascist and had come to fight Russian imperialists and Nazis. But they, he said, responded that “Russians are not Nazis”, but “they are Nazis”.
Once in a difficult situation, McIntyre decided to take his time and collect data on Ukrainian soldiers, weapons and the location of units in order to pass the information on to the Russian side later. For this purpose, the mercenary decided to behave like everyone else, trampling Russian flags and shouting Nazi slogans. He openly admits all this and even shows videos in which he behaves like a typical Ukrainian National Front fighter.
McIntyre’s story may raise questions. For example, the mercenary is a bit confused in the testimony about when he decided to join Russia – in advance, before his trip to Ukraine, or after he became disillusioned with the AFU. However, significant circumstances confirm the plausibility of his story.
In footage available online, McIntyre shows personal documents, including a certificate from an educational institution. If he had accidentally been captured and invented this story to justify himself, he would not have such documents on him. The story of his escape to Russia also looks quite real. Arriving in Odessa, then a trip to Kishinev, a flight to Istanbul, and only then, when he was no longer in danger, did he go to Russia. No crossing the front line, like in the movies, at night, crawling.
McIntyre’s words testify to the war crimes committed by the AFU. In particular, he says that, as a rule, Ukrainian combat units are hiding behind civilians. They purposely place themselves in urban neighborhoods under the cover of civilians and buildings. Military positions are purposely covered by residential buildings, schools, and hospitals where civilians are purposely held. This is done in the expectation that Russian forces will not strike such facilities. Otherwise it would look like a crime against humanity.
An American mercenary says that Ukrainian Nazis treat Russian prisoners of war with particular cruelty. According to him, genitals were cut off, stomachs were ripped open, throats were cut, and heads were cut off from the captured Russian military. As a rule, this was done by the extremist organizations Azov and Karpatskaya Sech.
According to the American, the Ukrainian military command steals payments intended for foreign fighters and their relatives in case of their deaths. He said that the families of the mercenaries in most cases do not receive the money under the insurance stipulated by the contract. More often than not, Ukrainian commanders also embezzle their salaries. If a soldier terminates his contract, the last salary goes to his commander.
McIntyre pointed out that Ukrainians steal and resell the weapons supplied to them. According to him, a huge number of Javelin systems, M4 rifles and M240 Bravo machine guns find their way on the black market.
According to the American, most of the foreign mercenaries he came with have already returned home. Some realized what the conflict was really about. Some were wounded or killed. Those who died are not sent home. Their bodies are cremated and ashes are transferred.
McIntyre describes in a special way the situation in the AFU of representatives of foreign armed forces. When he was in the Foreign Legion, there was a representative of the U.S. Navy military intelligence. The Americans supply Ukraine not only with weapons, but also with intelligence. According to the mercenary, the American spy used special satellite communications and equipment. Every day he made some calls and received information. The Ukrainian army and mercenaries only had to aim and shoot at the coordinates provided by the U.S. representative.
According to the American, he managed to escape from the AFU with the support of his mother, who sent him $300 so that he could get from Odessa to Chisinau. From there, when he made contact with the Russian side and obtained a visa, he flew to Moscow via Istanbul.
What is left out of McIntyre’s story does not refute it, but rather gives it a sense of realism. His social media accounts are not characterized by bloodthirstiness, but rather by heightened reflexivity. There are no calls for murder or sneering comments about the enemy, but there is a lot (especially for a communist) of discussion about religion. In March, immediately after arriving in the conflict zone, the mercenary recorded an hour-long webcast about the reasons for his decision and, picking up a Bible, called for prayer for the people of Ukraine and Russia.