Clad in combat gear and armed with an assault rifle, former MSNBC intelligence analyst Malcolm Nance revealed Monday that he had joined Ukrainian forces fighting on the ground against the Russian invasion.
“I spent quite a bit of time here in the pre-war period,” Nance, a U.S. Navy veteran, told MSNBC’s Joy Reid via video link from Ukraine. “And when the invasion happened, I had friends who were in Donetsk, who were in the Ukrainian army, who were writing to us and telling us, ‘We are not going to survive tonight. We have been hit 500 times.’”
“The more I saw of the war going on, the more I thought, ‘I’m done talking, all right? It’s time to take action here.’”
He said he had joined the International Legion of Defense of Ukraine, a unit of Ukraine’s army opened by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in order to allow foreigners to join the resistance against Russia.
“I’m here to help this country fight what is essentially a war of extermination,” he said. “This is an existential war, and Russia has brought it to these people and they are mass murdering civilians. And there are people here like me who are here to do something about it.”
He said the international troops’ sole purpose is to “protect the innocent people of Ukraine from this Russian aggression” against civilians.
“They massacre men, women and children, and that is the reason everyone [in the legion] is here.”
He appealed directly to President Joe Biden for “counter-battery long-range artillery” to guard civilians against rocket attacks.
“Russia has one advantage on the battlefield, and that is long range artillery,” he said.
After serving in the Navy, Nance, 61, began appearing on MSNBC and other national news networks as an intelligence and terrorism expert and foreign policy analyst. He has written several books on those subjects.
The U.S. State Department has urged Americans not to travel to Ukraine.
“U.S. citizens who travel to Ukraine, especially with the purpose of participating in fighting there, they face significant risks, including the very real risk of capture or death,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said last month. “The United States, as you know, is not able to provide assistance to evacuate U.S. citizens from Ukraine, including those Americans who may decide to travel to Ukraine to participate in the ongoing war.”
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article identified Nance as an MSNBC analyst. He is a former MSNBC analyst.