Hard Drinking and Murky Finances: How an American Veterans Group Imploded in Ukraine

the demandfiled in Wyoming, where Mozart is registered as a limited liability company, is a litany of petty and serious allegations, accusing Mr. Milburn of, among other things, making disparaging comments about Ukraine’s leadership while “significantly intoxicated.” , letting his dog urinate in a borrowed apartment and “diversion of company funds” and other financial malpractice.

“I’ll be the first to admit that I have flaws,” said Milburn, who acknowledged in an interview that he had been drinking when he made the Ukraine comments. “We all are.” But he denied the more serious allegations of financial improprieties, calling them “completely ridiculous.”

When Milburn appeared in the Ukraine in early March last year, the capital Kyiv appeared to be on the brink of a precipice. Russian forces were fighting their way out of the suburbs, and the Ukraine led thousands of inexperienced soldiers to the front.

It was then that, through a mutual friend, Mr Milburn, 59, met Mr Bain, 58. Also a former Navy colonel, Mr Bain had worked in media and marketing in the Ukraine for more than 30 years. “The Two Andys,” as Mozart’s employees called them, shared a vision of doing everything possible to help Ukraine win the war.

Mr. Milburn, whose career has traced the US wars of the last three decades, from Somalia to Iraq, had both the combat experience and the contacts. He counts Navy heavyweights as the perpetrator bing west and a former defense secretary, General James Mattis, as friends.

Mr. Bain had the organization. For eight years, since Russia invaded eastern Ukraine in 2014, he had been running the Ukraine Freedom Fund, a charity he created that turned donations into desperately needed equipment for the Ukrainian military.

The two founded Mozart, the name a cheeky response to the Russian mercenary force using the name of another famous composer, the Wagner Group. They also published a short podcast called “Two Marines in Kyiv.”