2 American veterans captured in Ukraine released, their families say

Two American Veterans Disappeared Roughly freed after war with Ukrainian army Russia Imprisoned for three monthsrelatives said Wednesday.

Alex Drueke, 39, and Andy Huynh, 27, went missing on June 9 in the Kharkiv region of northeastern Ukraine near the Russian border. Both traveled alone to Ukraine and became friends because they were both from Alabama.

This family Drueke’s aunt Dianna Shaw announced their release in a joint statement.

“They were safely detained by the U.S. embassy in Saudi Arabia, and after medical screening and debriefing, they will return to the states,” the statement said.

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U.S. veterans Andy Tai Ngoc Huynh and Alexander Drueke leave their home in Alabama to serve with Ukrainian troops on the battlefield. They were reportedly captured by Russian troops during fighting in eastern Ukraine in June 2022.

Both men had spoken to relatives in the U.S. and were “in very good shape,” Shaw said, according to a U.S. embassy official.

The Saudi embassy said in a statement that it had mediated the release of 10 prisoners from Morocco, the United States, the United Kingdom, Sweden and Croatia. Shaw confirmed that Drueke and Huynh were part of the group.

Britain confirmed that five British nationals had been released, MP Robert Jenrick said, including Aiden Aslin, 28, who was sentenced to death after being arrested in eastern Ukraine.

“Aiden’s return has brought months of painful uncertainty to Aiden’s beloved Newark family, who face Aiden’s false trial every day but never loses hope. When they are united as a family again , they can finally live in peace,” Jenrick tweeted.

U.S. veterans Alexander Drueke (left) and Andy Tai Ngoc Huynh with other foreign fighters in Ukraine.

After the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Drucker joined the military at 19 and believed he could help ukrainian warrior Because of his training and weapons experience, Shaw said before. Drueke considered going for a few weeks, she said, then made up her mind and left in mid-April.

Huynh moved to northern Alabama two years ago from his native California, and lives about 120 miles (193 kilometers) from Drueke. Before heading to Europe, Huynh told his local newspaper, the Daily Decatur, that he couldn’t stop thinking about a Russian invasion.

“I know it’s not my problem, but I have a gut feeling that I have to do something,” Huynh told the paper. “Two weeks into the war, it’s been eating me up and it doesn’t feel right. I’m losing sleep… All I can think about is the situation in Ukraine.”

The two were united in their homeland when their troops came under heavy artillery fire. Relatives spoke to Drueke on the phone several times while the two were being held.

a member of their squadron tell CBS News They were nearly all killed by a Russian vehicle this summer when Drueke and Huynh destroyed it with a rocket-propelled grenade, saving their lives.

The Kremlin has said it knows nothing about Americans being held by Russia.But in the TV clip, the presenter in the Russian state media video can be heard laugh at family With a photo of the two appearing in the background.

Drucker’s mother previously told “CBS Morning News” that her son “felt very strongly that Putin needed to be stopped because he said Putin would not be content with just one part of Ukraine, or even the whole of Ukraine.”

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