Conor Kennedy, the 28-year-old grandson of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, has revealed that he had been in Ukraine fighting the Russians despite having zero military experience and that he was “willing to die” for the cause.
“My time in Ukraine wasn’t long, but I saw a lot, and I felt a lot,” Kennedy wrote in an Instagram post that included a photo of his friend “Nick” in combat gear. “I liked being a soldier, more than I had expected. It is scary. But life is simple, and the rewards for finding courage and doing good are substantial.”
Kennedy, best known for his grandfather and his brief relationship with pop queen Taylor Swift, claimed that he had kept a tight lid on his trip and his identity, telling one person that he had gone to Ukraine and only telling another person in Ukraine his real name.
“I didn’t want my family or friends to worry, and I didn’t want to be treated differently there,” Kennedy wrote. “Going in, I had no prior military experience and wasn’t a great shot, but I could carry heavy things and learned fast.”
“I was also willing to die there. So they soon agreed to send me to the northeastern front.”
Kennedy did not say how long he was in Ukraine, nor did he say when exactly he was in the country. The northeastern front campaign lasted from the start of the war on Feb. 24 to April 8, with small reprisals in May.
Kennedy had posted three times in April before having zero posts until his big confessional, posted last week. He posts only a few times a year, underscoring his need to set the record straight as news of his service broke out in the press.
The overriding reason to serve, Kennedy cited, was that “this war will shape the fate of democracy in this century,” calling the conflict a “revolution” as it “isn’t a war between equals.”
“I wanted to help,” Kennedy wrote. “When I heard about Ukraine’s International Legion, I knew I was going, and I went to the embassy to enlist the next day.”
“My friends there know why I had to come home,” he continued. “I’ll always owe them for their example. I know I’m lucky I made it back, but I would also take all the risks we took over again.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy established the International Legion shortly after the conflict started, and the group drew 20,000 volunteers from 52 countries in the first week, according to Time.
“For now, I’ll only urge you to help in your personal capacity,” he concluded. “Join the legion, help on the border, or send medical supplies. Every day, someone there sacrifices everything for a lasting peace. They can’t be asked to act alone.”
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