U.S. Navy veteran and former MSNBC defense analyst Malcolm Nance has confirmed that he is defending Ukraine against the Russian invasion by joining the country’s international legion, a military unit of volunteers.
Nance tweeted on April 18, “I’m DONE talking. #JoinTheLegion #StopRussia #SlavaUkraini.” He included a photo of himself holding a gun and dressed in full combat gear.
Nance said he has been fighting in Ukraine for about a month.
“We are here for one purpose, and one purpose only, and that is to protect the innocent people of Ukraine from this Russian aggression,” Nance told MSNBC host Joy Reid on April 18, referring to the International Legion of Territorial Defence of Ukraine, a military unit that includes 20,000 volunteers from 52 countries, Al Jazeera reported.
“The more I saw of the war going on, the more I thought, I’m done talking, It’s time to take action,” said Nance
Nance, 60, is the founder and executive director of the Terror Asymmetrics Project, a nonprofit, non-partisan think tank and policy consultant on terrorism and defense. Nance runs the project with his partner Chris Sampson. Both have written numerous books on regional and functional aspects of terrorism. Nance is a frequent contributor to TV talk shows on security and global issues and a regular analyst on MSNBC.
“This is an existential war, and Russia has brought it to these people and they are mass-murdering civilians,” Nance said. “And there are people here like me who are here to do something about it.”
Black America responded to Nance’s fighting for Ukraine.
“Malcolm Nance @MalcolmNance is at ground zero in Ukraine fighting the Russians. Where is Kyle Rittenhouse and the rest of you ‘patriots’ who wield guns and weapons at Black Lives Matter rallies?” tweeted Bishop Talbert Swan. Swan is a prelate of the Church Of God In Christ, a Pentecostal holiness Christian denomination with a predominantly African American membership, more than 12,000 churches and 6.5 million-plus members in the U.S. Swan also serves as the Bishop of the Nova Scotia Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction in Canada.
Some on Twitter questioned why Nance, a Black American, was fighting for Europeans instead of helping improve the condition of Black people in America.
“Wrong war you fighting my brother…..” tweeted Militant Midget.
Others in Black America pointed out that Ukraine does not have the best racial justice record. At the start of the conflict, African students stranded in Ukraine reported that they were not allowed to leave the country until white Europeans crossed the border first.
Peace Corps workers in Ukraine are warned about racism in the country, according to a tweet by Shon. “Not the Peace Corps warning Black volunteers that Ukrainians might be call them the n word with a hard r,” Shon tweeted, along with an excerpt from a Peace Corps guide to serving in Ukraine. The actual guide warns, “It is not uncommon for Ukrainians to refer to African-Americans as “[N-Word]”. Volunteers of color may be called ‘a monkey’ or may see children’s games with Blackface.”
The guide includes quotes about Peace Corps volunteer experiences. One said, “‘People of color’ face many challenges living in Ukraine, as a Peace Corps Volunteer. However, African-Americans will confront far more complicated issues. For modern parts of Ukraine, African-Americans are part of the community and day-to-day life. However, there are many Ukrainians who have never seen a Black person before. Their understanding of African-American culture is fueled by the media and African stereotypes. You will generate lots of interest and curious stares.”
For some, Nance’s decision was all about politics. “Nobody is blaming Putin for inflation, nobody believes Malcolm Nance is fighting anything other than to fit into that uniform, and as the polls show, hardly anybody believes that Biden is a good President,” tweeted Black in the Empire.
Former national security adviser Michael Flynn traded public barbs with Nance and criticized on April 19 during an interview on Lindell TV, an online conservative network founded by My Pillow CEO and Donald Trump supporter Mike Lindell. Flynn, who was pardoned by Trump after pleading guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with a Russian ambassador.
“Is he fighting for a fascist dictator, or is he fighting for communism? Whose side is he on here?” Flynn asked in a Newsweek report. “Is he supposed to be a journalist that’s reporting the news, or is he out there trying to make the news? What kind of ploy is that?”
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Nance tweeted a response: “PSA: Tell Mike Flynn that I fight for DEMOCRACY. Flynn LITERALLY ate Putin’s bread SEATED AT HIS RIGHT HAND. He LOVED Moscow’s cash & spent years nestled deeply in Vlad’s cold, white KGB a**. Now he supports Russia’s murder of a free people!? F**k you, Mike Flynn. F**k. You!”
Nance added: “Oh. Did I mention CONVICTED FELON? I forgot.”
Photo: Malcolm Nance, Twitter @MalcolmNance. Satellite image: the Azovstal Iron and Steel Works and port, Mariupol, Ukraine.