Two US veterans reported missing in June have returned home safely after being held by Russian-backed separatist forces for three months in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine.
Alex Drwick, 39, and Andy Hoen, 27, traveled to Ukraine separately as volunteers to help fight invading Russian forces. the two He disappeared on the 9th of June They were detained before Russian-backed separatist forces in the Donbass region.
Druk and Huynh were released to the US Embassy in Saudi Arabia as part of a prisoner exchange. They arrived in the United States at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York on Friday.
Before arriving in the United States, Drewic’s aunt Diana Shaw, A joint statement was issued Announcing that the veterans “are being held safely in the US embassy in Saudi Arabia, and after medical examinations and debriefings, they will return to the United States.”
“We are looking forward to spending time with the family and will be in touch with the media soon.” Associated Press Friday. “Happy to be home.”
Shaw confirmed that Druk and Huynh were among 10 prisoners from Morocco, the United States, the United Kingdom, Sweden and Croatia. Saudi Arabia said on Wednesday that Saudi Arabia had arranged for the release of prisoners held by the Donetsk People’s Republic.
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Although the veterans traveled to Ukraine separately in April, they bonded while volunteering after learning they were from Alabama. Huen, a Vietnamese American who served in the US Marines, was so Making wedding plans With his fiancée before traveling to Ukraine.
“I know it wasn’t my problem, but there was that gut feeling that I had to do something.” Decatur Daily. “Two weeks after the start of the war, it kept devouring me inside and I felt wrong. I was losing sleep. … All I could think about was the situation in Ukraine.”
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken confirmed the release of Druki and Huynh in a statement on Wednesday, thanking Ukraine for including “all prisoners of war, regardless of nationality, in its negotiations.”
He also thanked Saudi Arabia for assisting the state in leading the “humanitarian initiative and facilitating the return of ten foreign nationals.”
Blinken reiterated the risks of traveling to Ukraine and also noted that the US government could not guarantee the safety of volunteers.
“Blinken said Americans who travel to Ukraine to take part in the fighting there face great risks and the United States cannot guarantee their safety. We encourage American citizens to devote their energies to the many other opportunities that exist to help the country and people of Ukraine.”
Featured image via WFAA
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