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June 17, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

Talking completely to CNN’s Sam Kiley, a former US serviceman preventing with Ukrainian forces recounted the battle he witnessed on June 9 the place American volunteer fighters Alexander John-Robert Drueke and Andy Tai Ngoc Huynh have been reportedly captured by Russian forces. 

The person, who requested to be recognized with the code identify “Pip,” stated his crew was despatched out on a mission east of Kharkiv the place a full scale Russian armored assault was underway.

Drueke and Huynh fired a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) at a BMP automobile that was coming by means of the woods and destroyed it. However the crew needed to shortly withdraw as greater than 100 Russian infantry started advancing and the American fighters discovered themselves in a village they beforehand thought was in Ukrainian arms. 

When requested about what occurred to Drueke and Huynh, Pip stated that “we suspect they have been knocked out by both the T-72 tank capturing at them or by the blast of the mine. That is solely hypothesis we do not know what actually occurred to them.” 

A photograph of the two men emerged Thursday with their arms tied behind their again and at the back of a Russian truck. 

“I do know for a indisputable fact that Andy and Alex didn’t come right here for cash, they didn’t come right here for glory. They got here right here with a agency perception that Ukraine as a blossoming democracy wants assist,” Pip instructed Kiley through the interview.

“So far as I am conscious, we’re paid about the identical if not precisely the identical as a Ukrainian soldier who’s on the entrance… And cash is actually not my motivation for being right here. And I do know that it is not Andy’s and it is not Alex’s both,” he continued.

Extra background: On Wednesday, CNN reported that Drueke, 39, from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and Huynh, 27, from Hartselle, Alabama, had been lacking for practically per week and there have been fears that they could have been captured by Russian forces, based on their households and a fellow fighter. Drueke and Huynh had been preventing alongside Ukrainian forces north of Kharkiv.

CNN on Thursday reported a third American whom the State Division had recognized as lacking in motion in Ukraine was US Marine veteran Grady Kurpasi. He served within the US Marine Corps for 20 years, retiring in November 2021.

US President Joe Biden stated Friday he has been briefed on the three Individuals who’ve gone lacking in Ukraine. Briefly remarks to reporters as he left for a weekend on the seashore in Delaware, Biden stated repeatedly Individuals mustn’t journey to Ukraine at the moment.

“We do not know the place they’re, however I wish to reiterate: Individuals shouldn’t be going to Ukraine now,” Biden stated in response to a query from CNN’s MJ Lee on the White Home.

State Division spokesperson Ned Worth stated the division is in touch with the households of the lacking Individuals in addition to Ukrainian authorities and the Worldwide Committee of the Crimson Cross.

The US State Division on Thursday instructed the household of one of many Individuals lacking in Ukraine that there’s potential proof Drueke was captured, however couldn’t confirm the picture on the time, Bunny Drueke, Alexander’s mom, instructed CNN.

On Friday, movies surfaced on pro-Russian channels and social media showing to point out Drueke and Huynh detained at an unknown location. It isn’t clear who’s holding them.

Worth stated Thursday the US was not in touch with Russia in regards to the reportedly captured Americans as a result of they don’t but have “credible purpose” to consider the Russians have captured them and likewise as a result of Russia has not claimed to have captured them.

On Friday, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov instructed CNN that he doesn’t know something in regards to the two American fighters. CNN has repeatedly reached out to Russia’s ministry of protection for remark however has not but acquired a response.

Learn extra here.

CNN’s Kate Sullivan and Jonny Hallam contributed reporting to this submit. 

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