Here’s the Fate of Two Americans Soldiers Fighting with Ukraine and Captured by Russia

Two heroes from Alabama volunteered to fight with Ukrainian forces against the aggressive invasion of the Russian military. They were captured by the Russian-supported separatist group known as the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), a quasi-nation-state within Ukraine that has not been recognized by the United States. But soon, these men will be returning home, according to a report from their families. 

Alex Drueke, 39, and Andy Huynh, 27, were fighting together in the Kharkiv region of northeastern Ukraine. On June 9, they were taken captive by the DPR and kept as prisoners of war. 

Their families released a joint statement with good news, “We are thrilled to announce that Alex and Andy are free. They are safely in the custody of the US embassy in Saudi Arabia and after medical checks and debriefing they will return to the States.”

Because the United States does not have diplomatic relations with the DPR, others had to negotiate for the release of Drueke and Huynh. Just this week, Saudi Arabia announced that it was able to secure the release of 10 total foreign national prisoners from these nations: The U.S., the United Kingdom, Morocco, Sweden, and Croatia.

The two Americans are in “pretty good shape,” according to family members. Drueke is an Army veteran and Huynh is a marine veteran who originally hails from California, and lived approximately 120 away. They lived 120 miles from each other in Alabama when they decided to enlist with Ukrainian forces back in April. 

Drueke joined the Army soon after the 9/11 attacks and believed his experience would be helpful to the Ukrainians, and Hyuhn said that he just could not get the plight of the Ukrainians out of his mind.

“I know it wasn’t my problem, but there was that gut feeling that I felt I had to do something,” Huynh said before he left. “Two weeks after the war began, it kept eating me up inside and it just felt wrong. I was losing sleep. … All I could think about was the situation in Ukraine.”

These heroes will be home soon.