volunteer faked Ukraine battlefield heroics – report

39 volunteer faked Ukraine battlefield heroics – report

An American celebrated on-line and within the media has reportedly been outed as a hoaxer who aimed to get wealthy off his false picture

A US navy veteran who claimed battlefield victories as a volunteer fighter in Ukraine and gained fame by media interviews and dramatic Twitter posts was reportedly mendacity about his exploits all alongside to create a false picture from which he may revenue after the battle.

James Vasquez, who accrued greater than 400,000 followers on Twitter and was repeatedly quoted by the likes of CNN and the New York Instances, falsely claimed battlefield achievements as his personal, Enterprise Insider reported on Sunday. The outlet, which cited allegations by 4 different international volunteers in Ukraine, additionally confirmed by the Pentagon that Vasquez had lied about his navy historical past when he claimed to have had fight deployments as a US Military sergeant in Iraq and Kuwait. Because it turned out, he served as {an electrical} methods repairer within the Military Reserve and ended his stint there as a non-public top quality.

Vasquez’s social media posts, presupposed to be about his exploits on the entrance strains, typically went viral. “He bragged about capturing Russians and taking out tanks, was repeatedly interviewed by the information media and made catchy claims – together with that he imagined the ‘punchable’ Tucker Carlson when getting ready for battle,” Enterprise Insider stated. Even Adam Kinzinger, then a US congressman, insisted that Vasquez’s Twitter account wanted to be verified as a result of “he’s legit, and too many of us try to create pretend accounts with him.”

Nevertheless, Vasquez was making up his claims by going to areas the place battles had just lately taken place, capturing movies with destroyed tools and claiming achievements as his personal, different international fighters claimed. In a single case, he claimed on Twitter that he was heading to Soledar, the place intense preventing was reportedly raging, however Ukrainian forces had withdrawn from the world days earlier than.

The accusations towards Vasquez apparently started to floor earlier this 12 months. Sarah Ashton-Cirillo, an American volunteer who works within the media division of Ukraine’s Territorial Protection Forces, stated in a March Twitter put up that Vasquez couldn’t have legally gone on fight missions as a result of he didn’t have a contract with the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU). “I met James Vasquez thrice for a complete of about 4 hours,” she advised Enterprise Insider. “Throughout our final assembly, within the presence of one other particular person, he gave himself up and confirmed what I had recognized since final summer time, that he was by no means a member of the AFU.”

Different fighters advised the outlet that Vasquez bragged about changing into a millionaire when the battle ends. One volunteer claimed, “James stated, and I quote, ‘I’m by no means gonna return to work as a handyman. I’m in all probability by no means gonna must work once more after his conflict. I’m gonna be well-known.’”

Vasquez sought donations, in some circumstances for a purported Ukraine charity known as Ripley’s Heroes. He additionally allegedly leveraged the dying of Ukrainian-born British fighter Viktor Yatsunyk by falsely claiming to have misplaced his “pal.” Canadian volunteer April Huggett stated, “His stolen valor is aware of no finish.”

Enterprise Insider was unable to achieve Vasquez for touch upon the allegations. He admitted to the New York Instances in March that he had misrepresented his navy file and had been kicked out of the US Military. “I needed to inform 1,000,000 lies to get forward,” he stated.

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