Who was the 'Donbass Cowboy', the pro-Russian Texan who died in Donetsk?

Russell Bentley, a Texas native better known by his nickname "Donbass Cowboy", died in mysterious circumstances near Donetsk. His death provoked a strong reaction in Russian ultra-nationalist circles, where Bentley had made a name for himself over the past ten years by travelling through the territories occupied by pro-Russian forces in Ukraine.

Just a month ago, Russell Bentley was thanking his “guardian angels” in an interview with Newsweek for helping him escape death “hundreds of times” since 2014. But his luck finally ran out, and the man who called himself “Texas” or “Donbass Cowboy” was killed in Donetsk, in the Russian-occupied part of Ukraine's Donbas region. His death was announced by the Russian media on April 19.

Faced with this criticism, Moscow has been very discreet about the circumstances surrounding Bentley's death. His wife, a Russian citizen, had not heard from him since early April, and Bentley, who was usually very active on social media, had stopped posting. Members of his former combat unit in the Donbas finally announced his death. No official confirmation was provided by Moscow.

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