Russian state media has broadcast an interview with a former US marine to discuss his decision to move from sunny California to icy Siberia. In an interview with TV host Alexander Smol, American Daniel Castellon stated that his move was influenced by his experience of having “fought a war in a very hot place”.
Russian state media has been known for promoting Moscow’s narrative in relation to the ongoing war Ukraineframing it not only as a conflict against Kyiv, but also against Ukraine‘s supporters, including the US.
The clip was shared on Twitter by journalist Julia Davis, who runs the Russian Media Monitor project.
Castellon, responding to questions in English, expressed that Siberia’s cold weather was part of the attraction for him, stating: “It’s very cold here and I can enjoy it.”
According to Newsweek, Castellon detailed in the interview how he relocated from Los Angeles to the remote town of Slyudyanka, which is located on Lake Baikal in the Irkutsk region.
The host introduced him in the context of Western sanctions imposed on Russia’s economy in response to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
In the video, Smol asked Castellon about the impact of any “crisis” or economic struggle on US citizens.
However, the translation of the Russian-dubbed subtitles seemed to show Castellon criticizing the price of gas in the US, although it does not clearly align with his original English response.
Castellon then mentioned that he had married a local resident of the town and that, before moving, he only knew Russia as a big country with big cities.
He informed the Smol that he did not come to Russia with an American pension, but rather relied on his savings for living expenses.
Castellon said: “Right now, I’m very happy on the shores of Lake Baikal.”
He added that he would pursue Russian citizenship if it is “open” to him.
It comes as more than 100 Ukrainian prisoners of war have been released as part of a major Easter exchange with Russia, a top official said on Sunday, as Orthodox Ukrainians marked the holiday for a second time since Moscow unleashed its brutal full-scale war last February.
While celebrations were subdued due to security risks, with a curfew barring the faithful from customary all-night services, Ukrainian authorities and ordinary people shared messages of hope, linking the story of Jesus’ resurrection to their longing for peace and a Ukrainian victory.
Dozens of families had special reasons to rejoice, as presidential adviser Andriy Yermak announced that 130 soldiers, sailors, border guards and others captured by Moscow were on their way back home following a “big Easter prisoner exchange”.
Yermak said in a Telegram post on Sunday that those released included troops who fought near Bakhmut, the eastern mining city which has for months been the focus of Russia’s grinding offensive.