A Russian state television channel published videos of two Americans who were reported missing last week while fighting alongside the Russian army. Ukrainehours after the president of the United States Joe Biden said he did not know his whereabouts.
Families and members of Congress say Alexander Drueke and Andy Huynhboth US military veterans from the southern state of Alabama, lost contact with their loved ones while fighting alongside Ukrainian forces near the Russian border.
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The State Department had considered that the Americans, including a third citizen who was a captain in the US Marines, USAthey were missing.
On Friday night, the journalist of the Russian television RT, Roman Cossarevposted a video on the Telegram messaging platform in which Drueke spoke to the camera.
“Mom, I just want you to know that I am alive and I hope to return home as soon as possible”, drueke saidwho appeared sitting in what appears to be an office and wearing military clothing.
“Send my love to Diesel, I love you”, he finished and gave a quick wink. According to US reports, Diesel is her dog.
RT’s official Telegram channel also published an interview with Huynhwhere says the two “met in combat with Russian troops” near the strategic Ukrainian area of Kharkiv.
“Russian troops invaded our positions. We had to go back and one of my colleagues and I waited for about three hours in a trench to make sure the area was cleared.” counted Huynh.
“We ended up walking through the woods for about five hours. We eventually came to a road where we surrendered to the Russian forces.”.
The two Americans were recorded on separate RT videos saying “I am against the war,” in precarious Russian.
RT’s description of the apparent anti-war statements was: “Meet the American mercenaries who came to fight us in Ukraine. They were stationed near Kharkov (…) After meeting our men, now they hate war and want peace, and they want to go home. However, this is unlikely.”
Even it is unclear whether the two military veterans were forced to speak and the circumstances in which the videos were recorded are unknown.
A State Department spokesman confirmed Saturday that US authorities viewed the photos and videos.
“We are closely monitoring the situation and our hearts go out to their families during this difficult time.”the spokesman told AFP.
At the White House on Friday, Biden urged American citizens not to go to Ukraine.
“Americans should not go to Ukraine right now. I will say it again: Americans should not go to Ukraine,” he insisted.
Russian authorities in the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic, a strip of eastern Ukraine controlled by Moscow, have sentenced two Britons and a Moroccan they had captured in fighting to death.