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The State Department has responded to a report that two U.S. fighters have been captured in Ukraine, saying it is looking into the matter.
A report in The Telegraph said former U.S. servicemen Alexander Drueke and Andy Huynh were volunteering with the Ukrainian Army when Russian forces took them prisoner during a battle outside Kharkiv last week.
“We are aware of unconfirmed reports of two U.S. citizens captured in Ukraine. We are closely monitoring the situation and are in contact with Ukrainian authorities,” a State Department spokesperson told Fox News.
The spokesperson added that the department wishes to reiterate its message that “U.S. citizens should not travel to Ukraine due to the active armed conflict and the singling out of U.S. citizens in Ukraine by Russian government security officials.”
A soldier of Ukraine’s special operations unit checks a forest road to install anti-tank mines on the Russian troops’ potential way in the Donetsk region, Ukraine, late Tuesday, June 14, 2022. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
The State Department is advising that Americans currently in Ukraine leave “immediately if it is safe to do so using any commercial or other privately available ground transportation options.”
The Telegraph reported that the two men were lost in the confusion and low visibility that followed an explosion from an anti-tank mine.
“We suspect that they were knocked unconscious by either the anti-tank mine or by the tank shooting at them because later search missions found no sign of them, nothing,” a fellow fighter reportedly said, adding that a search party did not find any sign of them.
A mine detection worker with the HALO Trust de-mining NGO explains how they search for anti-tank and anti-personnel land mines in Lypivka, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, June 14, 2022. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
The group the Americans were with released the following statement: “A week ago our team ended up isolated in the middle of a Russian Offensive. Bama and Hate, 2 of our American brothers, were captured. We have not since heard anything about their well being. The information was confirmed by the Ukrainian intelligence.”
Drueke’s mother told the outlet that the U.S. Embassy “assured me that they are doing everything they can to find him and that they are searching for him alive, not dead.”