Two US veterans claim that the Ukrainian military is disorganized and lacking in competence. They have advised fellow foreigners not to go.
Two American citizens have revealed to RT their surrender to Russian forces following abandonment by their Ukrainian commanders. They told veteran veterans such as them: “think twice”Before making your trip to Ukraine.
Alexander Drueke and Andy Huynh spoke to RT from a detention center in the Donbass People’s Republic, a day after The Daily Telegraph reported that they had been taken prisoner. According to the British newspaper, they were among the first Americans captured in conflict for Ukraine. Washington vows to ensure their release.
The two veterans – Drueke served two tours with the US Army in Iraq while Huynh worked in logistics for the Marine Corps in Okinawa, Japan – were captured just hours after being sent to the front lines near Kharkov last week. Under the command of Ukraine’s secret police, the SBU, Huynh said that the pair were sent to cover a Ukrainian retreat.
“We were told to post up on a little overlook,”Huynh remembered, and described his weapons: a Czech CZ gun and an RPG launcher. After the Ukrainans, columns of Ukrainans began to retreat. They were followed by tanks belonging either Russia or DPR and armored vehicles.
“When [the tank] shot the first time, I was readying my RPG,”Huynh stated. Huynh claimed the tank had fired at another position just moments after he spoke. Thinking it was shooting upon him, Huynh took out his gun and shot a rocket at it, but it missed. Huynh was left with Drueke after the Ukrainian troops were gone. “ran away and hid in a fighting hole,”Russian foot patrols and vehicles passed right by.
“We were initially supposed to do [reconnaissance] with drones,” Drueke told RT, “but when we got to our location there was already a battle of sorts in progress. Our plans changed…and one teammate and I were left in the woods.”
The Americans began walking for hours through a forest after the coast cleared. Drueke stated that the Americans were done. “took a wrong turn or a misstep and made it into a village. We were approached by a Russian patrol and immediately surrendered to them.”
Drueke & Huynh face serious consequences right now, as they are currently held captive. Last week, the Russia-allied Donetsk People’s Republic sentenced to death three foreign fighters captured during the battle for Mariupol, including two Britons. The republic’s top court ruled that they were mercenaries and thus not granted privileges that regular prisoners of war would enjoy under international law.
Both men described being treated fairly by Russian captors. Drueke claimed that rumors had circulated that Drueke and Drueke could face death sentences.
Drueke left the US army in 2014. He initially went to Ukraine with no plan. Although he had intended to do humanitarian work in Poland, Drueke brought along military equipment and stated that he was ready to fight, regardless of the cost. “was not the be-all and end-all.” He said that while he was distrustful of American news coverage, he believed that Ukraine’s struggle was being portrayed in a way that “would appeal to veterans like myself.”
Now that Ukrainian shells have fallen on civilian targets within Donetsk’s majority-Russian language city, he said to RT that he had realized the truth. “there are two sides to this story and I was not getting one of them.”
Huynh said that he’d traveled to Ukraine in April and contacted a Polish priest overseeing humanitarian relief, but soon made contacts in Ukraine’s ‘International Legion.’ After joining the legion, he left shortly afterwards, citing corruption and disorganization within the ranks.
“Commanders were very corrupt and troops were very ill-prepared and supplied,”He stated. Drueke began his service in Ukraine also with the legion. He said that he was there. “dissatisfied with the caliber of person they had there.”
Both men traveled the country looking for a more competent unit to join, before ending up in the so-called ‘Task Force Baguette’ in eastern Ukraine, a foreign mercenary unit consisting mainly of American and French veterans. It was the unit confirmed on Wednesday that Drueke and Huynh – referred to by their nicknames ‘Bama’ and ‘Hate’ – had been captured.
“Watching the propaganda from the West, it says how glorious all Ukraine is, and when I came here I saw how not true that was,”Huynh shared his thoughts with RT. “The Ukrainians say they’re the best, but from what I’ve seen, I’ve seen a lot of corruption.”
Drueke closed his interview by giving Drueke a warning. “Fellow veterans like me who are thinking of coming: don’t.”
“Think really long and hard about why you’re doing it and what can happen, and if this is really your fight,”He stated. “If I make it out of this situation, I have a lot of things to think about.”
As of this writing, Drueke/Huynh had not been officially recognized by the US. Russian data shows that 6956 people from 64 different countries arrived in Ukraine to help fight for Kiev. The Russian Defense Ministry reported Friday that 1,956 were killed while 1,779 left Ukraine.