A Russian public TV channel on Friday shared videos on social media of two Americans who had gone into combat as volunteers with the Ukrainian armed forces and had been missing for several days.
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US President Joe Biden told reporters on Friday he did not know the whereabouts of the two men — two former US soldiers whose families have not been heard from for the past week — adding, “Americans should not go to Ukraine.”
The US State Department has also reported information about the disappearance of a third US citizen “in recent weeks”.
On Friday evening, Russian journalist Roman Kosarev – who works for the Russian public TV channel RT – published a video of Mr Drueke speaking on camera on Telegram messaging.
“Mom, I just want to tell you that I’m alive and I hope to get home as soon as possible,” said Alexander Drueke, dressed in military uniform and apparently sitting in an office.
“Love Diesel for me, I love you,” he adds, ending his short video with a wink. According to American media, Diesel is his dog’s name.
RT’s official Telegram channel also broadcast a video of Mr Huynh explaining that he and Alexander Drueke were “engaged in a battle with Russian troops” near Kharkiv (eastern Ukraine).
“Russian forces have taken over our positions. We had to withdraw,” adds Mr Huynh. After hiding for several hours, the two men surrendered to Russian forces, he said.
The two men were also filmed in other videos broadcast by RT saying in hesitant Russian that they were “against the war”.
The circumstances under which the two former soldiers spoke and who is holding them are unclear at this time.
A State Department spokesman confirmed Saturday that he had seen the photos and videos of the two American citizens “allegedly captured by Russian forces in Ukraine.” “We are monitoring the situation closely,” he told the AFP news agency.
The relatives of the two Americans had reacted in the media this week.
Drueke’s mother Lois told CNN on Thursday her son had gone to Ukraine after talking to her about it for a month. “I want everyone to know. We don’t want one coming back without the other. They were best friends and we want everyone to remember that there isn’t just one person,” she said.
Mr Huynh’s fiancee, Joy Black, says in the same interview that she has not heard from him since 8 June. “He told me that he loves me very much and that he will be unavailable for two, three days. They tried not to upset me,” she said. “I just want to see him alive and well.”
Two Britons and a Moroccan captured in Ukraine, where they were fighting for Kyiv, were sentenced to death on Thursday by the judiciary of the separatist authorities in Donetsk on mercenary charges, Russian news agencies said.