Conor Kennedy, the grandson of assassinated U.S. Senator Robert F Kennedy, has opened up about how he secretly volunteered to fight against Russia on the front lines in Ukraine.
Conor, who once dated singer Taylor Swift, said that despite having no military experience he was “moved” to join the Ukrainian International Legion earlier this year.
In a post on Instagram, the 28-year-old revealed how he kept his identity and family history a secret whilst fighting, including his connection to U.S. President John F Kennedy, the brother of his grandfather, who was infamously assassinated in 1963.
“I told one person [in the U.S.] where I was, and I told one person [in Ukraine] my real name,” Connor wrote. “I didn’t want my family or friends to worry, and I didn’t want to be treated differently there.”
Conor said that “going in, I had no prior military experience and wasn’t a great shot, but I could carry heavy things and I learned fast.” He added: “I was also willing to die there. So they soon agreed to send me to the northeastern front.”
“It was scary,” he said. “But life is simple, and the rewards for finding courage and doing good are substantial.”
Writing that he “liked being a soldier, more than I had expected”, Kennedy’s grandson admitted that he “didn’t stay long” in Ukraine.
“My friends there know why I had to come home. 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.
“This war, like all others, is horrific. The people I met were the bravest I have ever known. My fellow legionnaires — who came from different countries, backgrounds, ideologies — are true freedom fighters. As are the citizens I knew, many of whom have lost everything in their long struggle against oligarchy, and toward a democratic system. They know this isn’t a war between equals, it’s a revolution.”
Conor said he believes that Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine has global implications.
“This war will shape the fate of democracy this century,” he added. “There’s more to say about its politics and the role of western governments there.”
He added: “For now, I’ll only urge you to help in your personal capacity. 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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