Latest Russia-Ukraine War News: Live Updates

Credit…Via Darla Black, Lois Drueke

The State Department mentioned on Saturday that it had reviewed photographs and movies showing to point out two Americans captured in Ukraine, though it declined to touch upon the authenticity of the photographs or on the lads’s circumstances.

American officers have been involved with the lads’s households, the Ukrainian authorities and the International Committee of the Red Cross, a State Department spokesperson mentioned.

The Red Cross declined to touch upon the case.

The males, Alex Drueke, 39, and Andy Tai Ngoc Huynh, 27, have been reported lacking final week by their households, and the State Department described them on Saturday as “reportedly captured by Russia’s military forces in Ukraine.” Both are U.S. army veterans who volunteered to battle in Ukraine.

The Russian authorities has not commented publicly on the experiences.

On Friday, brief movies purporting to point out the 2 males have been posted on YouTube through which they mentioned in Russian, “I am against war.” It was unclear when the movies have been recorded or by whom.

Then the Russian state broadcaster RT mentioned it had interviewed the lads, claiming they surrendered to Russian troops and have been at a detention middle managed by Russian-backed forces. Videos watermarked RT, circulating on social media, confirmed the lads, individually, talking to somebody off digital camera about their experiences.

Lois Drueke, the mom of Mr. Drueke, mentioned on Saturday that she and different members of her household celebrated after seeing the primary of the movies, though it was only some seconds lengthy.

“I have seen the ones from yesterday over and over again,” she mentioned. “It’s wonderful to see him and see that he is alive.”

The household was assured that it was Mr. Drueke within the movies, due to his “body language, facial expressions, gestures and, most importantly, his mellifluous voice,” mentioned Dianna Williams, his aunt. The State Department, nonetheless, has not but instructed the household whether or not officers imagine the movies are genuine.

Mr. Drueke, a former U.S. Army employees sergeant who served two excursions in Iraq, had beforehand warned his mom that if he have been ever taken captive, he may very well be requested to learn from a script, Ms. Williams mentioned. She added mentioned that the household understood that every part he was saying must be taken with a grain of salt.

“After the great relief we felt at seeing the videos, we also feel apprehensive because we now know that he is in a captive situation,” she mentioned.

Darla Black, the mom of Mr. Huynh’s fiancée, Joy Black, mentioned that they had additionally felt aid seeing the movies.

“It is a comfort to hear his voice,” mentioned the elder Ms. Black. “It’s not a situation we want him to be in, but as long as he is talking, he is breathing.”

She mentioned the inflection and cadence of the person’s voice within the video was acquainted, though they might not ensure it was Mr. Huynh.

Ms. Black mentioned the movies reminded her of recordings of prisoners of warfare from Vietnam. “Everyone knows that prisoners are not free to speak their minds,” she mentioned.

The State Department declined to remark intimately on the case, citing privateness issues. But it repeated a warning that President Biden gave on Friday, when he instructed reporters, “I want to reiterate: Americans should not be going to Ukraine now.”

He mentioned the administration didn’t know the placement of the lads.

Last week, a court docket in Russian-occupied jap Ukraine sentenced three international fighters to dying, accusing the lads, from Britain and Morocco, of being mercenaries. Western nations condemned the decision, and authorized consultants mentioned the trial seemed to be calculated as a warning to international volunteers that, if captured, they may very well be denied the protections granted to prisoners of warfare beneath the Geneva Conventions.

The conventions, which govern the law of war and which Russia has signed, specify that captured volunteer fighters will also be thought-about prisoners of warfare. The main definition of a mercenary beneath worldwide regulation is somebody preventing primarily for monetary achieve who’s paid considerably greater than native armed forces.

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