California man vows to interrogate ‘Western scum’ for Russia in Ukraine

A Moscow-based American barber has vowed to go to Ukraine’s eastern Donbass region to help Russian troops and interrogate American and Western prisoners of war.

Greg Rossell, who says he previously lived in California, said he would be traveling to the Donbass region as a volunteer in December, in several posts shared on his social media accounts.

In an Oct. 14 Instagram post, Rossell — who has also shared anti-Semitic posts on his social media accounts — seemed to enjoy being able to face off against American and Western soldiers.

He said: “I want to do everything I can to contribute to our victory, I can also interrogate American and Western scumbag mercenaries who are fighting for Ukraine while we capture them and other scumbags.”

“Send many American mercenaries, NATO mercenaries in sacks back to their countries, glory to Russia, glory to Putin and glory to all our Russian soldiers. Victory is coming.”

While the number of foreign volunteers on the Russian side of the war in Ukraine is unknown, the International Counter-Terrorism Center said in July that Vladimir Putin announced that 16,000 Middle Eastern volunteers were ready to assist Moscow. Including fighters from Chechnya “and mercenaries who join the Wagner group from Syria and Libya”.

Teddy's Rock'n'Roll Barbershop
Photos from Greg Rossell’s social media accounts. Rossell said he wanted to interrogate Americans in Donbass.

At that time, Ukraine announced that about 20,000 people had joined the Ukrainian armed forces. Americans have volunteered in frontline and non-combat roles since the outbreak of war in Ukraine. Alexander Drueke and Andy Tai Huynh, both from Alabama, were freed from Russian captivity in September as part of a prisoner swap. US Army veteran Stephen Zabielski, 52, of New York, and former Marine Willy Cancel, 22, of Tennessee, were killed.

It is unclear whether Rossell formally asked to volunteer, and no information was provided to suggest that the Russian authorities had asked Rossell to help with the war effort in Donbass. news week contacted the Russian Defense Ministry.

The American said the military uniform and bulletproof combat vest in which he posed for several photos on social media were not given to him by the Russian state but were instead purchased from a store.

Rossell, who opened his Moscow-based hair salon in 2017, rose to prominence online after showing his commitment to the Russian war effort by getting a “Z” tattooed on his chin after the war broke out.

The symbol, which is not in the Cyrillic alphabet, is a war symbol in Russia, often used in propaganda efforts.

Rossell has repeatedly shared anti-Semitic posts on his social media accounts and adorned his barber shop with the Confederate battle flag and images of the Ku Klux Klan, images can attest.

On October 11, Rossell shared a post about Russian oligarchs of Jewish heritage: “Roman]Abromovich, [Arkady] Rotenberg, [Mikhail] Friedman and the rest of the kosher thieves, you could provide every citizen of Russia and our military with the assets of these scum.”

Russian-Israeli historian Vyacheslav Likhachev narrated news week Unfamiliar with Rossell, he noted that Russian and foreign neo-Nazis have been an “important factor in the military conflict in Donbass” since the leaders of the eastern Ukrainian region declared independence in 2014.

He added: “The Russian aggression involved far-right groups and individuals – dubbed the DPR and LPR).”

Parts of the Donbass region in eastern Ukraine were held by pro-Russian separatists, who declared the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics independent of Kyiv in 2014 after referendums deemed illegal by most international states.

Likhachev added: “Since February 24, this trend has been state-controlled. As for the personnel of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and formally non-state armed groups participating in the invasion of Ukraine, then of course everyone will be taken there, anyone.”

The historian said neo-Nazis and anti-Semites were able to gain a foothold in Russia, even though President Putin justified the war as ridding Ukraine of Nazism.

He said news week: “In short, Russia was indeed a safe haven for extremists and chauvinists of various kinds […] for years – first simply because of the lack of control, then because loyalty to the Kremlin’s ideology is much more important to the Russian government.

“Meanwhile, the ideology of the Kremlin regime cannot be called truly anti-Semitic. However, Russian officials, including the Foreign Minister [Sergei Lavrov] and Deputy Secretary of the Russian Security Council [Aleksey Pavlov]can indulge in outrageous anti-Semitic remarks.”

In July, the US State Department attacked the Kremlin, saying it was “falsely claiming that the worst Nazis were actually Jews and trying to downplay the role of anti-Semitism in Nazi ideology.”

It added: “Russia’s corrupt former president and deputy chairman of the country’s Security Council, Dmitry Medvedev, has argued that Zelenskyy has ‘lost’ his Jewish identity.

“One of the Kremlin’s most prominent propagandists, Vladimir Solovyov, even claimed that Zelenskyy was not truly Jewish, while Solovyov’s associates and state media falsely accused the President of Ukraine of betraying his Jewish family and ancestors.”

While the State Department declined to comment on Rossell’s situation, it said Americans should not travel to Russia.

A spokesman said news week: “US citizens should not travel to Russia and those residing or traveling in Russia should leave Russia immediately.

“We reiterate our message that US citizens should not travel to Ukraine due to the active armed conflict.”