American veterans captured by Russia while fighting for Ukraine released, families say

Two American men who were captured by the Russians while fighting for the Ukrainian Defense Forces have been released, their families said.

Veterans Andy Wong and Alexander Drucker from Alabama were reportedly released after they were captured by the Russians while fighting for Ukraine.

The men have reportedly been handed over to the custody of the U.S. embassy in Saudi Arabia, according to a joint statement released by their families.

“We are delighted to announce that Alex and Andy are free,” the family said. “They are in safe custody at the U.S. embassy in Saudi Arabia, and after medical screening and debriefing, they will return to the U.S.”

The families said they were “very grateful for everyone’s prayers, especially the close communication and support of our elected officials, Ukrainian Ambassador Markarova, and members of our U.S. embassies in Ukraine and Saudi Arabia, and the U.S. State Department.”

The men were among 10 prisoners of war released by Russia as a result of “mediation efforts” on behalf of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, according to the Saudi foreign ministry.

British, Swedish, Croatian and Moroccan nationals were also released over the deal.

The men were arrested after helping to destroy a Russian tank, according to a soldier who was with Mr. Drueke and Mr. Huynh. During the attack, the Americans were separated from the others in smoke before being captured by Russian troops.

The men were then reportedly detained in the Russian-backed separatist region of Ukraine’s Donetsk People’s Republic.

The Americans appeared in interviews on Russian state television, who said they had changed their minds about the war. The men were apparently coerced by Russian military officials and used for propaganda, their families said.

Mr Wong’s fiancé Joy Black told Reuters After watching early reports of the Russian invasion, the men were motivated to help Ukraine.

“When Andy saw this footage from Ukraine, he said he couldn’t sleep, he couldn’t eat, he was just consumed by the horror these innocent civilians were going through,” she said.

Mr Drueke’s mother, Lois Drueke, told the media she didn’t like the idea of ​​her son fighting in another war but understood why it was important to him.

“As a mother, I certainly don’t want my child to be hurt,” she said. “But I know it’s really important to Alex, he wants to have a purpose in his life, and he thinks it’s nice and noble.”

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