A Russian state TV channel confirmed on Friday that their forces have captured the two US military veterans who went missing last week fighting in Ukraine. The channel also aired videos of the Americans on social media.
Identified as Alexander Drueke and Andy Huynh, both the soldiers hail from Alabama. They are believed to be the first Americans captured by Russian troops since the war started. While Drueke had served in the US Army, Huynh was a member of the US Marines Corps.
The state TV channel Russia Today, which broadcasts in English, had interviewed both the Americans and posted the interview on Telegram. As per reports, the duo went missing after their group had been fighting the Russian troops in the northeastern Kharkiv region on June 9.
They had been separated from the others and had to hide for hours in the woods of a nearby village, where the Russian patrol found them. Speaking to RT, Drueke revealed that they are detained in the Donbas region controlled by Russian-backed separatist groups.
On Telegram, Drueke recorded a small message for his family, mentioning that he hopes to return home as soon as possible.
"Mom, I just want to let you know that I'm alive and I hope to be back home as soon as I can be," said Drueke, seated in what looks like an office and dressed in military clothing, Associated Press reported.
Another Russian state television network VGTRK recorded a short video of the pair saying "I'm against the war", in poor Russian. It is not clear under what circumstances the footage was recorded and who was overseeing the recording.
While the US State Department had informed last week that it is investigating the capturing of the pair by the Russian forces but, did not provide any further details. The government however, is continuously warning against Americans participating in the war.
"We are closely monitoring the situation and our hearts go out to their families during this difficult time," the spokesperson said, as per CNA.
When President Joe Biden was asked about the missing soldiers before the videos were released by the Russian media, he said that he was aware of the situation but did not comment much.
"I don't know where they are and I want to be clear: Americans should not be going to Ukraine," Biden said. "I'll say it again; Americans should not be going to Ukraine."
The Russian government is yet to acknowledge the situation in an official confirmation.