Two Americans who went to Ukraine as volunteer fighters against Russian forces have been missing for a week and are believed to have been kidnapped, according to family members.
Alexander Drueke, 39, of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and Andy Huynh, 27, of Hartselle, Alabama, were last heard from on June 8 and have not returned from a mission in eastern Ukraine’s Kharkiv region.
According to the families and a US State Department spokeswoman, reports that the two were taken prisoner of war by Russia are unconfirmed.
Andy’s girlfriend, Joy Black, said over the phone, ‘What we know officially at this moment from the State Department is that Andy and Alex are gone.’
‘Beyond that, we haven’t gotten any confirmation. Obviously, the longer we seek, the more we examine alternative possibilities,’ she continued.
According to Maria Zakharova of Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the US has not contacted Russia about the reports of US fighters.
‘I don’t have that information; I check every day and will continue to do so today. We make public all information regarding the fate of mercenaries who have been detained or sentenced to trial,’ Zakharova was quoted by the Russian news agency RIA as saying.
A request for comment from Russia’s defence ministry was not immediately returned.
If the two have been apprehended, they will be the first confirmed American citizens detained as prisoners of war in the conflict, which began on February 24 when Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an invasion of its neighbour.