American Veterans Captured by Russian-Backed Forces in Ukraine Coming Home, Families Say

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October 2, 2022
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The families of captured American volunteer fighters Alex Drueke and Andy Huynh have confirmed to that both men have been released from captivity and are heading home.

“They are safely in the custody of the U.S. embassy in Saudi Arabia and, after medical checks and debriefing they will return to the States,” Dianna Shaw, the relative who has been speaking for the Drueke family, told

Darla Black, the mom of Joy Black, Huynh’s fiancee, said that the two men were “coming home together.” She added, “We are overwhelmed, as you can imagine.”

Read Next: Here’s Why Putin Is Calling Up Veterans to Fight in His Ukraine War

The men are being released as part of a larger deal freeing 10 men that was the result of mediation by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Reuters reported earlier Wednesday. reached out to the State Department for comment but did not get a reply in time for publication.

Drueke and Huynh were captured by Russian or Russian-backed forces in June while fighting in northeastern Ukraine, near the city of Kharkiv. They were reportedly part of a small contingent of Ukrainian-backed forces made up of mostly American and French volunteers called “Task Force Baguette” at the time of their capture.

The two men have spent roughly 100 days in captivity.

“We deeply appreciate everyone’s prayers and especially the close communication and support of our elected officials, Ukrainian Ambassador Markarova, and our members of the U.S. embassies in Ukraine and Saudi Arabia and the U.S. Department of State,” Shaw said.

This story is still developing and updates will be added once they are confirmed.

— Drew F. Lawrence can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @df_lawrence.

— Konstantin Toropin can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @ktoropin.

Related: How 2 American Veterans Ended Up in Ukraine, Prisoners of Russian-Armed Militants

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