American Volunteer James Vasquez Becomes Internet Famous For Tweets About His Experiences Fighting In Ukraine's Foreign Legion

March 28th, 2022 - 1:00 PM EDT by Aidan Walker

Contact Newsroom

James Vasquez, cooking beef and posing with his homies in Ukrainian army uniforms.

James Vasquez, an American contractor and army veteran from Connecticut, declared on February 26th that he had “made the decision to go to Ukraine and fight along their army,” creating a Twitter account to document his experience at the onset of the invasion. By mid-March, he was in Ukraine fighting the Russians at an undisclosed location, live-tweeting his battlefield experiences and dealing with the consequences of sudden and newfound internet fame.

In recent days, Vasquez has become a notable figure online with the press widely covering and seeking to interview him about his experiences shared on social media over the last month.

Vasquez, by his own account, got involved with the Ukrainian community back in Connecticut, and before heading over to the country last month, he attended rallies and retweeted posts supporting the Ukrainians. He paid for his own equipment and passage over to Ukraine (which led to him purportedly “hemorrhaging money”) and was able to officially enlist in the Ukrainian Foreign Legion via the Ukrainian embassy in the United States.

Vasquez posts a variety of updates from the front, keeping his followers up-to-date with the war and informing them of his activities.

Many of his posts offer a “slice of life” perspective, sprinkled with his witty commentary. Vasquez focuses a lot on food, and also on the generosity, courage and resilience of the Ukrainians around him. Many such posts have garnered thousands of reactions from users online.

Not all of Vasquez’s posts are lighthearted, however. He also speaks of the brutality of the war he is fighting in, and the dangers he and his comrades face.

Vasquez’s number of Twitter followers increased rapidly last week after footage of him beside a smoldering Russian tank went viral. Vasquez was surprised by his sudden fame and showed some ambivalence about it. He modified his posting strategy for security reasons but continued to tweet about the war.

Vasquez capitalized upon his new Twitter fame to crowdfund supplies for himself and his Ukrainian comrades, rapidly raising enough money to buy the equipment he needed.

He also spent time correcting misinformation about himself and countering scammers impersonating him online amid the ongoing cyberwar over the conflict with Russia.

Judging by the level of activity in online communities like Reddit’s /r/VolunteerforUkraine, there are other Americans and foreigners interesting in fighting. Their enthusiasm for the war has been met with derision in some quarters, but others – such as President Volodymyr Zelenskyy who called for international volunteers at the beginning of the war – encourage qualified volunteers to join the cause.

While there are many other foreign fighters in Ukraine, none have quite the same Twitter presence and online renown as Vasquez, who continues to grow his following each day that the conflict rages on.

+ Add a Comment

Comments (0)

There are no comments currently available.

Display Comments

Add a Comment

Hello! You must login or signup first!