Former Korean Navy SEAL lieutenant-turned-YouTuber Rhee Ken, 37, has reportedly been promoted to a leadership position in the Ukrainian military.
On Monday, Anton Gerashchenko, the official advisor for and former deputy minister at the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs, posted on his Twitter that Rhee, a volunteer fighter for the International Legion, was being placed in a “leadership position” given his “special operations experience.”
The new rank would give the former Navy SEAL “a lot of leeway in planning missions against [Russian] forces,” added the official.
The post included a series of photos of Rhee in uniform with a thick mustache, unlike his usual Instagram images in which he is usually clean-shaven or sporting thinly-trimmed facial hair.
According to a Korea JoongAng Daily report, Rhee shared in an interview with Novoye Vremya, a Ukrainian weekly news outlet, on Saturday that he had been injured while fighting Russian forces in Irpin, Ukraine, and was currently staying at a military hospital.
He also stated that he anticipated being arrested upon his return to Korea, referring to the law from February 13 that forbids any citizen from traveling to Ukraine.
“It’s illegal under Korean law to be in Ukraine now,” he explained. “If I go back, I’ll be arrested at the airport because I participated in the war. I am planning to receive many official documents from the Ukrainian government, and I hope this helps my trial.”
Rhee had originally announced on March 6 that he had “informally” left South Korea for Ukraine with his hand-selected team of special forces.
He claimed he was answering Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s call to the world for help despite Korean law, which forbids citizens from entering the travel-banned country. Those who break the law face possible prison time and potential fines of 10 million won ($7,913).