Simon S. came to Germany with his parents when he was 13 years old, went to school here and later worked as a fitter. He then joined pro-Russian separatists in acts of violence against Ukraine back in 2014. Now he’s fighting for Russia in the war.

A few weeks ago, 31-year-old Russian-German Simon S. voluntarily joined the Chechen armed forces, which are fighting for Russia under the leadership of Ramzan Kadyrov. It is the second time that Simon S., who was once based in Hesse, has taken part in combat operations in the Donbass. As early as 2014, he had joined the pro-Russian separatists who were occupying areas in Donbass at the time. The public prosecutor’s office in Frankfurt initiated investigations against him on suspicion of preparing a serious act of violence that endangered the state.

After his one-year commitment to the pro-Russian separatists, Simon S. moved to Russia, where he has lived ever since. He justified his return to the war with the words: “War is addictive. The adrenaline and the state of war are picking up.” He sees a “Nazi regime” in power in Ukraine, and the country must be liberated. So far, Simon S. is the only German citizen known to be fighting for the Chechens. According to information from the Federal Ministry for the Protection of the Constitution, no other cases are known.

In the program Report Mainz on December 20, 2022, the path of Simon S.’s radicalization was traced.

At the age of thirteen, S., who was born in the Soviet Union, moved with his parents from Russia to Gelnhausen in Hesse. He completed his schooling and later worked as a fitter for an electrical company. In 2014 he left Germany to volunteer with the pro-Russian separatists in Donbass. Even then, the ARD report “Warriors made in Germany” reported on him.

Report Mainz has been in contact with Simon S. since February 2022. At first he said he was not interested in taking part in the war. But a few months later, his attitude changed. The enemy image of the supposedly “Russian-hostile West” flares up again. “Germany and the US have conspired against Russia,” he believes.

In October 2022, Simon S. will get in touch again. He sends a video from Grozny, where he voluntarily joined Kadyrov’s troops. Shortly thereafter, he flies to the war zone with the Akhmat unit.

The last sign of life from Simon S. is a cell phone video. It shows him in a trench firing a Kalashnikov. He literally says in the video: “This is what war looks like.” He says he signed a three-month contract with the Chechens. “My contract is about to expire, then I’ll go home for two months and then I’ll sign again for eleven months,” he says.

An unidentified gunman fired on a patrol in the Rostov-on-Don region in southern Russia, injuring a police officer. The man was dressed in camouflage and was armed with an assault rifle. The deserter is said to be still on the run.

The Russian military reports advances in eastern Ukraine. Putin was disappointed by Angela Merkel’s recent comments on Ukraine. All current voices and developments on the Ukraine war can be found in the ticker.