US military veterans captured in Ukraine by Russia: reports

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US Army veteran Alexander Drueke, seen in a Facebook profile picture.

US military veteran Alexander Drueke, seen in a Facebook profile photo.

Several reports indicate that early US citizens and volunteer fighters in Ukraine fear capture by Russian forces.

The two identified men, US military veteran Alexander Drueke and former sailor Andy Tai Ngoc Huynh, have been missing for a week and believed to have been captured during clashes around the besieged eastern city of Kharkiv. Both were officially fighting for a Ukrainian military unit, according to The telegraph.

It would be the first time since the February invasion that Americans became Russian prisoners of war, joining other foreign nationals captured as they fought for the Ukrainian war effort.

“We are aware of unconfirmed reports of two US citizens being captured in Ukraine,” a State Department spokesperson told VICE News. “We are closely monitoring the situation and are in contact with the Ukrainian authorities.”

In recent weeks, two Britons, Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner, and Moroccan national Brahim Saadoun, have been sentenced to death as “mercenaries” by the Donetsk People’s Republic, an unrecognized Kremlin puppet state in the United States. eastern Ukraine, after being captured. during the siege of Mariupol.

In April, the State Department quickly refuted claims by Russian trolls that a US special forces soldier had been killed or captured in Ukraine. Even so, the possibility of one of its citizens being captured was still possible as thousands of foreign volunteers joined the war in Ukraine alongside Kyiv, which includes several known Americans.

“We also reiterate once again 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,” the doorman also warned. -word.

A former private military contractor, the professional name for what a soldier for hire is, familiar with the vast network of American veterans who have been to Ukraine, said many don’t realize the realities of that particular conflict.

“I think despite the fetishization of war, it’s important for people to understand that it’s not a hobby,” he told VICE News, declining to be named for security reasons. . “There is a big difference between gearing up and firing on a group on flat ground and volunteering to fight a conventional force without an ideal amount of support resources.”

Follow Ben Makuch on Twitter.

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