An American military veteran who told Russian state-run media that he defected to Moscow after fighting with Ukraine’s International Legion served very briefly with the U.S. Army, a service spokesperson said.

John David McIntyre “served in the regular Army as an Indirect Fire Infantryman (11C) from June 2015 to August 2017,” an Army spokesperson told Task & Purpose on Thursday. “He has no deployments. He held the rank of private first class at the end of service.”

No information was immediately available about why McIntyre left the Army after little more than two years, why he finished his service at such a low rank, or what type of discharge he received when he left the service.

In an interview with Russia’s RT television news network, McIntyre said he had served with the 1st Armored Division and was assigned to Fort Bliss, Texas. In one of the pictures of McIntyre in uniform that RT showed, a soldier next to McIntyre can be seen wearing the 1st Armored Division’s patch on his sleeve.

McIntyre told his interviewer, RT correspondent Murad Gazdiev, that he had served in the Army for “two years and a month,” but he did not describe the circumstances by which he left the service.

He said that he joined Ukraine’s International Legion in March 2022 specifically so that he could spy on Ukrainian forces for the Russian government. He also accused pro-Ukrainian forces of committing war crimes and being heavily infiltrated by Nazis. 

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None of McIntyre’s statements could be immediately verified and his comments about Ukrainians being Nazis closely parrot Kremlin propaganda that the Russians have used to justify their invasion of Ukraine.

McIntyre said he has provided Russia’s intelligence service with information about the International Legion’s command structure as well as names of people involved in the unit and its weaponry, but none of his claims could be independently verified on Thursday evening.

“It’s the reason I came to Ukraine in the first place,” McIntyre told Gazdiev when asked why he had flown to Russia. “I’m a communist; I’m an anti-fascist. We have to fight fascism everywhere. When I came to Ukraine, I knew that I would try to get as much information as I could about, you know, anything that would be helpful and defect across lines.”  

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