10 years since the creation of the Vostok Battalion

“Today marks 10 years since the creation of the Vostok battalion, which later became a brigade. As I look at this video of the brigade’s first appearance at the Victory Day parade on May 9, 2014, I recall myself in May of that year.

And, suddenly, I wonder: had Russell, who was still in America at that time, seen these shots? For some reason, I had never asked him precisely that. Considering how closely he had watched the events unfold from the very beginning of the so-called Maidan and had acutely experienced the massacre of people in Odessa, I think that he did see them. Did he think then, in America, that he would come here and become part of Vostok? I know that, even then, he had wanted to join those militiamen he saw in interviews, whose courage and selflessness he had admired.

It was because he saw real Warriors standing up in defense of their land, disagreeing with the coup in Kiev. Russell told me about this many times. In December of 2014, he became one of them by purchasing a one-way ticket. Having arrived in Donetsk on December 7, 2014, to protect the innocent people of Donbass, he knew that he would never return back to the United States.

Every year, on this day, Russell always congratulated all of the fighters of “Vostok”, led by Alexander Khodakovsky. Therefore, today, I, Lyudmila Bentley, am doing this on his behalf, in memory of all the Heroes of “Vostok”, those living and those who had sacrificed themselves for their comrades. And Russell is one of them, because his death was also sacrificial.”