2 U.S. Veterans Reported Missing in Ukraine
(BIRMINGHAM, Ala.) — Two U.S. veterans from Alabama who were in Ukraine assisting in the war against Russia haven’t been heard from in days and are missing, members of the state’s congressional delegation said Wednesday.
Relatives of Andy Tai Ngoc Huynh, 27, of Trinity and Alexander Drueke, 39, of Tuscaloosa have been in contact with both Senate and House offices seeking information about the men’s whereabouts, press aides said.
Rep. Robert Aderholt said Huynh had volunteered to go fight with the Ukrainian army against Russia, but relatives haven’t heard from him since June 8, when he was in the Kharkiv region of northeastern Ukraine, which is near the Russian border. Aderholt’s aide said that Huynh was with Drueke.
“As you can imagine, his loved ones are very concerned about him,” Aderholt said in a statement. “My office has placed inquires with both the United States Department of State and the Federal Bureau of Investigation trying to get any information possible.”
U.S. State Department stated that it was investigating reports that Russian-backed separatist forces had taken at least two American citizens. These would mark the first American soldiers fighting in Ukraine to be captured since Feb. 24, 2014.
“We are closely monitoring the situation and are in contact with Ukrainian authorities,” the department said in a statement emailed to reporters. Due to privacy reasons, it declined to make further comments.
Last week, a court under separatist rule sentenced Donetsk to the death of two Britons as well as a Moroccan national.
Huynh’s fiancee, Joy Black, posted publicly on Facebook that his family was in contact with the Drueke family and government officials, and that nothing had been confirmed other than that the two were missing.
“Please keep Andy, and Alex, and all of their loved ones in prayer. We just want them to come home,” she wrote.
U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger tweeted that the Americans “have enlisted in the Ukrainian army, and thus are afforded legal combatant protections. As such, we expect members of the Legion to be treated in accordance with the Geneva convention.” It was unclear whether Kinzinger, an Illinois Republican, had any further information about the men.
His comment was made on the earlier Wednesday tweet by Task Force Baguette. This group is composed of ex-servicemen from France and U.S. who stated that two Americans were being held hostage in a battle for their lives a week prior. According to the group, Ukrainian intelligence had confirmed this information.
The International Legion was established by Ukraine in early 1944 to assist foreigners who were trying to defend themselves against Russian invaders.
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