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Russian state TV features a former US Marine who traded Los Angeles for Siberia

A former US Marine has appeared on a Russian state media show to explain why he emigrated from California to Siberia.

Daniel Castellon, speaking to Russian state media host Alexander Smol, said the decision was inspired by the fact that he had “fought a war in a very hot place”, according to a clip posted to Twitter on Saturday by journalist Julia Davis, who runs the Russian Media Monitor project.

Responding to questions from the host in English, Castellon said Siberia’s weather was part of the attraction, adding, “It’s very cold here and I can enjoy it.”

Russian state media has played a leading role in cementing Moscow’s narrative about the ongoing war in Ukraine. Previous state media broadcasts have framed the war not just as a conflict against kyiv, but against Ukraine’s supporters, including the United States.

A view of Lake Baikal, taken from the village of Listvyanka, 70 km from the Siberian city of Irkutsk, December 11, 2000. A former US marine has settled in a small town at the southern end of the lake, according to Russian state media.

According to state media, Castellon left Los Angeles for the remote Siberian town of Slyudyanka, located on Russia’s Lake Baikal in the Irkutsk region. It is presented by the host against the backdrop of Western sanctions against the Russian economy in response to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

At one point in the video, Smol asked Castellon if American citizens are feeling the impact of a “crisis” or economic struggle. The translation of the Russian-dubbed captions appears to show Castellon’s answer as a criticism of gas prices in the United States, although it doesn’t clearly match Castellon’s original answer in English.

Castellon then said that he married a local and before moving he only knew Russia as a big country with big cities. He told the assembled state media panel that he had not traveled to Russia on an American pension, but was living off his savings.

“Right now I am very happy on the shores of Lake Baikal,” he said, adding that obtaining Russian citizenship would be a possibility, if it is “open to him”.

Russian state media has previously featured a man claiming to be a former US soldier who defected to Russia after fighting on behalf of kyiv in Ukraine.

State broadcasts reflect the Kremlin’s justification for the war in Ukraine, calling the invasion a “special military operation”.

Russian state media host and propagandist Vladimir Solovyov has repeatedly called the conflict a “holy war” and echoed Moscow’s official line on the “denazification” of Ukraine.

As a full-scale war broke out on February 24, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said “Ukraine should be liberated, cleansed of neo-Nazis, people who share pro-feelings and ideas. -Nazis”, according to an official newspaper.

This claim has been rejected by Ukraine and the international community.


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