Exclusive: US fighters 'captured' by Russian forces in Ukraine
Two American fighters have been taken as prisoners of war in Ukraine, the first since the conflict began.
Robert Drueke and Andy Huynh were taken prisoner by Russian forces last week on the outskirts of Kharkiv, according to sources cited by The Daily Telegraph on Tuesday.
Drueke, 39, and Huynh, 27, are both from Alabama. One of their comrades described losing sight of the pair in a battle last week.
Drueke served in the US Army in Iraq whereas Huynh, a former Marine, has never been in active combat before.
He rushed to Ukraine in April after watching the invasion from afar, saying before he left that he was 'at peace' with the knowledge he may die in the conflict.
The pair were part of a ten-man squad defending Kharkiv last week when they were ambushed by Russian soldiers, according to one of their comrades who spoke to the Telegraph.
'We were out on a mission and the whole thing went absolutely crazy, with bad intel. We were told the town was clear when it turned out the Russians were already assaulting it. They came down the road with two T72 tanks and multiple BMP3s (armored fighting vehicles) and about 100 infantry. The only thing that was there was our ten man squad,' the unnamed fighter said.
Drueke and Huynh disabled a Russian tank with a grenade but were lost in the fog of return fire. By the time it cleared, they had vanished.
The State Department said on Tuesday it was 'aware' of reports of their capture but a spokesman declined to comment, citing privacy concerns.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Army Gen. Mark A. Milley are scheduled to give a briefing on the conflict in Ukraine this afternoon.
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