Conor Kennedy, grandson of Robert F Kennedy, has revealed he was so “deeply moved” by the war in Ukraine he secretly fought against the Russian invasion earlier this year.
Mr Kennedy, 28, who once briefly dated singer Taylor Swift, said in an Instagram post that he “wanted to help” and enlisted, despite having no military experience, and was “willing to die there”.
He joined Ukraine’s International Legion and kept a low profile while fighting overseas, confiding in only one person at home and another in the war-torn country because “I didn’t want my family to worry, and I didn’t want to be treated differently there”.
Russia ‘preparing to blow up major dam and flood thousands’ – war latest
“Going in, I had no prior military experience and wasn’t a great shot, but I could carry heavy things and learned fast. I was also willing to die there. So they soon agreed to send me to the northeastern front,” he said.
“My time in Ukraine wasn’t long but I saw a lot and I felt a lot. I liked being a soldier, more than I had expected. It is scary. But life is simple, and the rewards for finding courage and doing good are substantial.
“My friends there know why I had to come home. l’ll always owe them for their example. I know I’m lucky I made it back, but I would also take all the risks we took over again.
“This war, like all others, is horrific. The people I met were the bravest I have ever known.”
He urged people to help in their own ways: “Join the legion, help on the border or send medical supplies. Every day, someone there sacrifices everything for a lasting peace. They can’t be asked to act alone.”
Mr Kennedy ended the post pointing to an accompanying photograph of “my friend Nick” in military clothing.
He is the grandson of Robert F Kennedy, a lawyer and senator who was assassinated in 1968, five years after the assassination of his brother John F Kennedy.
Conor Kennedy’s father is Robert F Kennedy Jr, one of America’s leading anti-vaccine activists, and his mother is the late Mary Richardson Kennedy.
His girlfriend, Brazilian singer Giulia B, wrote: “You’re the bravest man i’ve ever known, my love… being away from you and worrying for all those months was incredibly hard, but we kept our faith all the way through, and I just want to tell you [once more] how proud I am.”