Only on 8: West Salem man living in Ukraine heading back for Kyiv to join fighting efforts

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – A former West Salem man living in Ukraine fled Kyiv with his wife Thursday morning and has been staying in a village four hours south of the country’s capital.

Cities all over Ukraine are a warzone.

But James Wisch says he is safe in the village he is in.

“I’ll be honest with you, it’s been quite pleasant here,” Wisch said.

RELATED: Former West Salem man living in Ukraine shares his story after Russian invasion 

He’s been actively posting to Facebook letting his friends and family know what is happening.

But now, he says he’s had enough of being a keyboard warrior.

Wisch says he is going back to Kyiv to join the fight with Ukraine.

“I’m very glad that we got out when we did,” Wisch said. “And now that I know my wife is safe, I feel confident going back. You have to put your money where your mouth is sometimes, and that’s what I’m doing.”

“You’re such a brave man, you know that?,” reporter Tyler Job said. “You’re very courageous.”

“We’ll see what happens when I pee my pants when the first shell drops near me,” Wisch said.


The 46-year-old says he’s never fired a real gun before, but is willing to do whatever he is told.

“The confidence of ignorance,” Wisch said. “Talk to me a in a few days and we’ll see what I say.”

He says he will help fight until his allies win.

“I have lots of friends here and I have family here now,” Wisch said. “I can’t just watch them sacrifice their own lives.”

And will soon be battling for the most important thing he believes in beyond his family: freedom.

“I love my family,” Wisch said. “And I’m sorry I didn’t tell everybody. They’re going to be really angry. But I think they’ll understand because they know me.”

In an update, Wisch says he was originally heading back to Kyiv Sunday morning Ukraine time, but his wife fell ill. He says if he doesn’t get sick in the next day, he will head to Kyiv to join fighting efforts.

Below are links to help donate to the Ukrainian military.