Two U.S. residents who traveled to Ukraine as volunteer fighters in opposition to Russian forces have been lacking for per week and are feared captured, relations mentioned on Wednesday.
Alexander Drueke, 39, of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and Andy Huynh, 27, of Hartselle, Alabama, have been final in touch with their households on June 8 and didn’t return from a mission across the Kharkiv area of japanese Ukraine.
Reports that the 2 had been taken prisoners of battle by Russia are unconfirmed, the households and a U.S. State Department spokesperson mentioned.
“What we know officially at this point from the State Department is that Andy and Alex are missing,” Joy Black, Andy’s fiancee, mentioned by cellphone.
“We do not have confirmation for anything beyond that. Obviously the longer the search goes the more we start to consider other scenarios,” she added.
Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Maria Zakharova mentioned the United States had not contacted Russia concerning the reviews of the U.S. fighters.
“I don’t have that information, I check every day, and I’ll check today. We make all information about the fate of detained mercenaries or those sentenced to trial public,” the RIA information company reported Zakharova as saying.
Russia’s protection ministry didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.
If the pair have been captured, they might be the primary confirmed U.S. residents to have been taken as prisoners of battle within the battle that started on Feb. 24 with Russian President Vladimir Putin ordering an invasion of its neighbor.
White House nationwide safety spokesperson John Kirby mentioned that if the reviews are true, the United States “will do everything we can” to get them again.
Last week, two British residents and a Moroccan have been sentenced to dying by a separatist courtroom within the unrecognized Russian-speaking Donetsk People’s Republic after being caught preventing for Ukraine. learn extra
Lois Drueke, Alexander’s mom, mentioned she had been in touch with the U.S. Embassy for Ukraine, situated in Poland, which was looking for the pair.
Both males had informed their households on June 8 they might be going offline for just a few days, however didn’t present particulars, for concern of their communications being intercepted.
Drueke served two excursions in Iraq, the final as a lead gunner in Baghdad in 2008-09, his mom mentioned. Huynh is a former U.S. marine who left the service in 2018, his fiancee mentioned.
They mentioned the lads didn’t know one another earlier than assembly in Ukraine, however each felt compelled to help the federal government after seeing photos of civilian casualties as Russia retreated from cities outdoors Kyiv in late March.
“When Andy saw this footage coming out of Ukraine he said he couldn’t sleep, couldn’t eat, was just consumed by the horror that these innocent civilians were going through,” mentioned Black.
Russia denies attacking civilians and has accused Western residents of performing as “mercenaries”, saying Western help for Kyiv is dragging out the battle and resulting in extra casualties.
“As a mother of course I didn’t want my child in harm’s way,” Lois Drueke mentioned. “But I knew that it was really important to Alex, he wanted a purpose to his life and he felt that this was good and noble.”
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