“All members of the Tennessee National Guard returned safely to their home state in 2019 after a successful mission,” the statement said.
All three men named in a Russian news report, two of whom are still serving in the Tennessee National Guard, are alive and well — and no U.S. military personnel are currently on orders in Ukraine, National Guard Bureau spokesman Wayne Hall said in a phone interview Friday.
The false claim began circulating Thursday after the Russian newspaper Pravda published a story and tweets claiming the three Americans, whom it identified by name and as “mercenaries,” had been “eliminated.” It cited a pro-Russian militia in Ukraine’s Donetsk region, which said it had identified the deceased using a Tennessee flag and other personal belongings left in a backpack near the remains.
Malone said the Tennessee National Guard is “monitoring the situation and will aid the members as needed.”
The National Guard Bureau said in a statement on Thursday that it believed Russian media targeted the individuals because they appeared in articles associated with a 2018 deployment to Ukraine, which included members of the Tennessee National Guard’s 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment.
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