A U.S. Army veteran who went to Ukraine to fight against invading Russian forces stole a Russian assault vehicle on Tuesday.
Former Army Staff Sgt. James Vasquez, 47, shared a video to Twitter on Tuesday, showing one of his teammates driving what appears to be a Russian-made BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicle up out of a densely wooded area. Vasquez tweeted, “Stole a Russian assault vehicle!!”
As the vehicle drives by in the video, Vasquez can be heard saying “Thanks Russia.” Another voice in the video could be heard saying, “It’s ours now.”
Vasquez, 47, left his job and family in Connecticut in March to fight alongside Ukrainian forces. Since arriving in Ukraine, Vasquez has shared videos of several of his exploits, including helping Ukrainian forces destroy what he said were seven Russian tanks. The videos he posted that day showed Russian tanks and other armored vehicles.
Vasquez’s latest video shows he is still actively working alongside Ukraine’s other defenders to inflict losses against the Russian side.
In one video, Vasquez showed a man carrying away what appeared to be a heavy machine gun, possibly a DShK which fires a Russian-made 12.7x108mm round similar to the U.S. .50 BMG (12.7x99mm). In the video, Vasquez refers to the machine gun as a “.50 cal.”
The Army veteran shared several other videos and pictures purporting to show Russian weapons he helped capture on Tuesday.
Vasquez shared another video of what appears to be a PKM general-purpose machine gun resting alongside some type of rocket launcher.
“Was a real good day,” Vasquez tweeted with a video showing an array of captured weapons, including boxes of hand grenades, multiple belt-fed machine guns and a variety of rocket launchers.
Vasquez shared another photo appearing to show his teammates posing over the entire array of captured weapons.
“All the booty we recovered today, no injuries, no fatalities,” he tweeted.
Vasquez is one of many U.S. veterans who have volunteered to help fight against Russian forces in Ukraine.
Two U.S. Army veterans were injured after an artillery shell landed near them.
22-year-old U.S. Marine Corps veteran Willy Joseph Cancel was killed while fighting alongside Ukrainian forces.
Vasquez – who served two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan – chose to volunteer in Ukraine after discussing the matter with his wife. In March, Vasquez’s wife Tina told the Daily Mail that her husband has military service in his DNA.
“It’s in his DNA, and he approached me, came to me after work, and said, ‘We need to talk, I can’t watch this on TV, I need to go help these guys,’” she said.
“Go ahead, just make sure you come home,” she recalled saying before he left. “This is what he needs to do, and I need to support him.”