The National Guard Bureau is refuting claims that Tennessee National Guard members were killed in Ukraine, rebuking what officials called a “patently false” Russian media report.
Russian media outlet Pravda reported that three members of the Tennessee National Guard died while fighting in Ukraine, calling the men “mercenaries,” and even listing names for those they claimed died.
“The three soldiers identified in the article are either current or former members of the Tennessee National Guard,” the NGB statement reads. “They are accounted for, safe and not, as the article headline erroneously states, US mercenaries killed in Donetsk People’s Republic.”
NGB’s statement also accused Russian media of targeting the individuals because of articles from 2018 carried on the Pentagon website DVIDS. Photos were taken of the troops at the time because they were deployed as part of the Multinational Training Group-Ukraine under the Tennessee Guard’s 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment.
More than 200 soldiers assisted the Ukrainian armed forces during the 2018 mission. While there, they helped with the development of cadre, ranges and training areas; equipment and instrumentation requirements, and a realistic operational training environment.
All members of the Tennessee National Guard returned home safely in 2019, though other Guard units have since rotated through.
The 160 soldiers of the Florida National Guard deployed to Ukraine since November were ordered by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to leave the country amid increasing concern of a Russian attack in mid-February.
Those soldiers were assigned to the 53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team and were ordered to reposition elsewhere in Europe.