Russell ‘Texas’ Bentley, US Citizen Who Fought In Russia, Dead In Donetsk

Reports from Russian media indicate that an individual identified as Russell Bentley, an American citizen known for his involvement with pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine from 2014 to 2017, has met his demise in Donetsk, a region under Moscow’s control.

According to Margarita Simonyan, the director of the pro-Kremlin RT TV channel, Bentley, also known as ‘Texas’, was confirmed deceased. Simonyan stated, “Russell Bentley, known as ‘Texas’, a real American, truly from Texas, was killed in Donetsk.” However, specific details surrounding his demise were not disclosed.

Bentley’s association with the “Vostok” battalion, a group he fought alongside, verified his passing and urged for justice to be served. They called for “exemplary punishment for those who killed Russell Bentley,” indicating a belief that he did not perish in a Ukrainian assault.

Earlier this month, Donetsk authorities reported Bentley missing, citing his disappearance following his assistance to victims of a Ukrainian attack on Donetsk. His wife, Lyudmila, alleged his abduction by Russian soldiers from a tank battalion, appealing for his release.

The former combatant, originally from Austin, Texas, had ceased participating in armed conflict since the significant escalation in February 2022. Bentley, whose military moniker was “Texas,” left behind his girlfriend, a yoga instructor, to embark on his journey to Ukraine.

Bentley became a citizen of Russia, funded his projects with the help of crowdfunding websites, and got married in Ukraine. He began his career in media as a contributor to the state-run news agency Sputnik.

Margarita Simonyan, who confirmed Bentley’s death, did not provide details of his passing but did note his contribution to the Russian cause. Different accounts of Bentley’s death raise the probability that he was kidnapped and then killed due to espionage fears.

On social media, there have been unsubstantiated claims—such as that he was beaten before he died—as well as conflicting narratives of how he passed away.

Bentley vanished while assisting the injured in an incident in Donetsk, underscoring the risks connected to war areas. Rolling Stone and other media have chronicled his transition from lefty activist in Texas to front-line Russian propagandist.

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