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2 American veterans captured in Ukraine have been released

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama – Two veterans of the American military, who disappeared during the fight against Russia along with Ukrainian forces, have been released after three months of imprisonment, relatives said on Wednesday.

Alex Drucke, 39, and Andy Huynh, 27, went missing in the Kharkiv region in northeastern Ukraine near the border with Russia on June 9. Both went to Ukraine independently and became friends because both are from Alabama.

The families announced their release in a joint statement by Diane Shaw, Druke’s aunt.

“They are safely in the custody of the US Embassy in Saudi Arabia and will return to the states after a medical examination and debriefing,” the statement said.

Shaw said both men had spoken with relatives in the U.S. and were in “fairly good shape,” according to a U.S. Embassy official.

The Saudi embassy released a statement saying it had brokered the release of 10 prisoners from Morocco, the United States, Great Britain, Sweden and Croatia. Shaw confirmed that Druke and Huynh were part of the group.

The United Kingdom confirmed that five British nationals had been released, with MP Robert Jerrick saying one of them was Aiden Aslin, 28, who was sentenced to death after he was captured in eastern Ukraine.

“Aiden’s return ends months of agonizing uncertainty for Aiden’s loving family in Newark, who suffered daily from Aiden’s sham trial but never lost hope. As they are reunited as a family, they can finally be in the world,” Jerrick tweeted.

Druke joined the Army at age 19 after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and he believed he could help Ukrainian fighters because of his training and experience with weapons, Shaw said earlier. According to her, Drucke debated whether to leave for a few weeks, then made up his mind and left in mid-April.

Huynh moved to north Alabama two years ago from his native California and lives about 120 miles (193 kilometers) from Druke. Before leaving for Europe, Huynh told a local newspaper, The Decatur Daily, that he couldn’t stop thinking about invading Russia.

“I know it’s not my problem, but I felt like I had to do something,” Huynh told the paper. “Two weeks after the war started, it kept eating me up from the inside, and it just wasn’t right. I was losing sleep. … All I could think about was the situation in Ukraine.”

The two men had teamed up in their home state and were together when their unit came under heavy fire. Relatives spoke to Druke several times by phone while two were kept in custody.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, copied or distributed without permission.

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2 American veterans captured in Ukraine have been released

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama – Two veterans of the American military, who disappeared during the fight against Russia along with Ukrainian forces, have been released after three months of imprisonment, relatives said on Wednesday.

Alex Drucke, 39, and Andy Huynh, 27, went missing in the Kharkiv region in northeastern Ukraine near the border with Russia on June 9. Both went to Ukraine independently and became friends because both are from Alabama.

The families announced their release in a joint statement by Diane Shaw, Druke’s aunt.

“They are safely in the custody of the US Embassy in Saudi Arabia and will return to the states after a medical examination and debriefing,” the statement said.

Shaw said both men had spoken with relatives in the U.S. and were in “fairly good shape,” according to a U.S. Embassy official.

The Saudi embassy released a statement saying it had brokered the release of 10 prisoners from Morocco, the United States, Great Britain, Sweden and Croatia. Shaw confirmed that Druke and Huynh were part of the group.

The United Kingdom confirmed that five British nationals had been released, with MP Robert Jerrick saying one of them was Aiden Aslin, 28, who was sentenced to death after he was captured in eastern Ukraine.

“Aiden’s return ends months of agonizing uncertainty for Aiden’s loving family in Newark, who suffered daily from Aiden’s sham trial but never lost hope. As they are reunited as a family, they can finally be in the world,” Jerrick tweeted.

Druke joined the Army at age 19 after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and he believed he could help Ukrainian fighters because of his training and experience with weapons, Shaw said earlier. According to her, Drucke debated whether to leave for a few weeks, then made up his mind and left in mid-April.

Huynh moved to north Alabama two years ago from his native California and lives about 120 miles (193 kilometers) from Druke. Before leaving for Europe, Huynh told a local newspaper, The Decatur Daily, that he couldn’t stop thinking about invading Russia.

“I know it’s not my problem, but I felt like I had to do something,” Huynh told the paper. “Two weeks after the war started, it kept eating me up from the inside, and it just wasn’t right. I was losing sleep. … All I could think about was the situation in Ukraine.”

The two men had teamed up in their home state and were together when their unit came under heavy fire. Relatives spoke to Druke several times by phone while two were kept in custody.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, copied or distributed without permission.

Reported by Source link

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