Two United States army veterans who have been in Ukraine combating in opposition to Russian forces have gone lacking and are feared captured, members of the family and US Congress members have stated.
The boys – Alexander Drueke, 39, and Andy Huynh, 27 – who had been dwelling in Alabama earlier than travelling to Ukraine following the February 24 invasion by Russia, have been final heard from within the Kharkiv area, which borders Russia. Their households stated they’d final been in touch with each males on June 8 and have been advised they’d be going offline for a couple of days.
US Consultant Terri Sewell stated Drueke’s mom had reached out to her workplace earlier within the week after dropping contact along with her son. US Consultant Robert Aderholt stated Huynh’s household had contacted his workplace concerning the disappearance.
“As you’ll be able to think about, his family members are very involved about him,” Aderholt stated in an announcement on Wednesday. “My workplace has positioned inquires with each america Division of State and the Federal Bureau of Investigation attempting to get any data potential.”
The Telegraph newspaper, which first reported on the disappearances, had quoted an unnamed fellow fighter who stated the 2 males have been captured after working into a bigger Russian group throughout a June 9 battle northeast of Kharkiv.
The US State Division stated it was trying into the studies and was in touch with Ukrainian authorities, however didn’t say if it had any additional data on the lads’s whereabouts. If confirmed, the duo can be the primary US residents to be captured in Ukraine.
Each males had beforehand served within the US army, with Drueke serving two excursions in Iraq, the final as a lead gunner in Baghdad from 2008 to 2009, in line with his mom. Huynh was a US marine who left the service in 2018, his fiancee, Pleasure Black, stated. He had been learning robotics at Calhoun Group School earlier than leaving for Ukraine in April.
Black posted on Fb that Huynh’s household was in touch with the Drueke household and authorities officers, and that nothing had been confirmed aside from that the 2 have been lacking.
“Please maintain Andy, and Alex, and all of their family members in prayer. We simply need them to come back residence,” she wrote.
Russia’s Ministry of Overseas Affairs spokeswoman Maria Zakharova stated on Thursday that Washington had not contacted Russia relating to the studies of the US fighters.
“I don’t have that data, I verify day by day, and I’ll verify at present. We make all details about the destiny of detained mercenaries or these sentenced to trial public,” the RIA information company reported Zakharova as saying.
The Russian army has stated it considers foreigners combating with Ukraine to be mercenaries and claims they aren’t protected as fighters underneath the Geneva Conference. The stance has garnered worldwide condemnation.
On Twitter, US Consultant Adam Kinzinger stated Drueke and Huynh had enlisted within the Worldwide Legion, a unit created by Ukraine’s army for overseas volunteers within the wake of the Russian invasion, “and thus are afforded authorized combatant protections. As such, we count on members of the Legion to be handled in accordance with the Geneva conference”.
A court docket in Russian-backed separatist-controlled Donetsk final week sentenced two British nationals and a Moroccan man to loss of life accusing them of being mercenaries who sought to violently overthrow the separatist authorities. The households of the 2 Britons have stated they have been longtime members of the Ukrainian marines, whereas the Moroccan man’s father has stated his son additionally holds Ukrainian citizenship.
The households of Drueke and Huynh have stated the 2 didn’t know one another earlier than arriving in Ukraine. Each males had been motivated by alleged atrocities dedicated by Russian forces on the outskirts of Kyiv in March, they stated.
“When Andy noticed this footage popping out of Ukraine he stated he couldn’t sleep, couldn’t eat, was simply consumed by the horror that these harmless civilians have been going by means of,” Black advised Reuters information company.
Drueke’s mom, Lois Drueke, stated: “As a mom after all I didn’t need my youngster in hurt’s manner … however I knew that it was actually vital to Alex, he needed a function to his life and he felt that this was good and noble.”