cloudyn.png
Wednesday August 17th, 2022 6:12AM

2 US veterans from Alabama reported missing in Ukraine

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Two U.S. veterans from Alabama who were in Ukraine assisting in the war against Russia haven't been heard from in days and are missing, members of the state's congressional delegation said Wednesday.

Relatives of Andy Tai Ngoc Huynh, 27, of Trinity and Alexander Drueke, 39, of Tuscaloosa have been in contact with both Senate and House offices seeking information about the men's whereabouts, press aides said.

Rep. Robert Aderholt said Huynh had volunteered to go fight with the Ukrainian army against Russia, but relatives haven't heard from him since June 8, when he was in the Kharkiv region of northeastern Ukraine, which is near the Russian border. Huynh and Drueke were together, an aide to Aderholt said.

“As you can imagine, his loved ones are very concerned about him,” Aderholt said in a statement. “My office has placed inquires with both the United States Department of State and the Federal Bureau of Investigation trying to get any information possible.”

Rep. Terri Sewell said Drueke's mother reached out to her office earlier this week after she lost contact with her son.

The U.S. State Department said it was looking into reports that Russian or Russian-backed separatist forces in Ukraine had captured at least two American citizens. If confirmed, they would be the first Americans fighting for Ukraine known to have been captured since the war began Feb. 24.

“We are closely monitoring the situation and are in contact with Ukrainian authorities,” the department said in a statement emailed to reporters. It declined further comment, citing privacy considerations.

John Kirby, a national security spokesman at the White House, said Wednesday that the administration wasn’t able to confirm the reports about missing Americans.

“We’ll do the best we can to monitor this and see what we can learn about it,” he said.

However, he reiterated his warnings against Americans going to Ukraine.

“Ukraine is not the place for Americans to be traveling,” he said. “If you feel passionate about supporting Ukraine, there’s any number of ways to do that that that are safer and just as effective.”

A court in Donetsk, under separatist control, sentenced two Britons and a Moroccan man to death last week. The Britons and Moroccan were accused of being mercenaries and seeking the violent overthrow of the separatist government in the Donetsk region. The Russian military has said it considers foreigners fighting with Ukraine to be mercenaries and claims they are not protected as combatants under the Geneva Convention.

Huynh's fiancee, Joy Black, posted publicly on Facebook that his family was in contact with the Drueke family and government officials, and that nothing had been confirmed other than that the two were missing.

“Please keep Andy, and Alex, and all of their loved ones in prayer. We just want them to come home,” she wrote.

U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger tweeted that the Americans “have enlisted in the Ukrainian army, and thus are afforded legal combatant protections. As such, we expect members of the Legion to be treated in accordance with the Geneva convention.” It was unclear whether Kinzinger, an Illinois Republican, had any further information about the men.

He was commenting on a tweet sent earlier Wednesday by Task Force Baguette, a group of former U.S. and French servicemen, saying that two Americans fighting with them were captured a week ago. The group said Ukrainian intelligence confirmed the information.

Early in the war, Ukraine created the International Legion for foreign citizens who wanted to help defend against the Russian invasion.

Huynh spoke to his local newspaper, the Decatur Daily, shortly before flying to Eastern Europe in April.

He explained that he was studying robotics at Calhoun Community College but couldn’t stop thinking about Russia’s invasion.

“I know it wasn’t my problem, but there was that gut feeling that I felt I had to do something,” Huynh told the Decatur Daily. “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.”

He said he decided to fly out once he learned that young Ukrainians were being drafted into service.

“Right when they turned 18, they were forced to enlist in the military to defend their homeland,” Huynh said. “Honestly, that broke my heart. I would say that is probably the moment where I decided that I have to do something.”

According to the newspaper, Huynh enlisted in the Marines when he was 19 and served for four years, though he did not see active combat.

He was born and raised in Orange County, California, to Vietnamese immigrants and moved to northern Alabama two years ago to be closer to his fiancee, the newspaper reported.

___

Associated Press writers Lynn Berry in Washington and Chris Megerian in Washington contributed to this report.

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News
© Copyright 2022 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Jan. 6 panel releases video of Capitol tour before attack
The House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol insurrection released video on Wednesday of a Capitol tour led by a Republican lawmaker the day before the attack, showing at least one participant taking photos of stairwells and tunnels in the Capitol complex
4:59PM ( 12 minutes ago )
DC trolls Saudi embassy by naming street Jamal Khashoggi Way
One month ahead of President Joe Biden’s trip to Saudi Arabia, the District of Columbia is renaming the street in front of the Saudi embassy Jamal Khashoggi Way, trolling Riyadh for its role in the killing of the dissident Saudi activist and journalist in 2018
4:59PM ( 12 minutes ago )
Fed attacks inflation with its largest rate hike since 1994
The Federal Reserve intensified its drive to tame high inflation by raising its key interest rate by three-quarters of a point — its largest hike in nearly three decades — and signaling more large rate increases to come that would raise the risk of another recession
4:57PM ( 14 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Wall Street rallies in relief after Fed's assurance on rates
Stocks rallied in a roller-coaster day of trading on Wall Street Wednesday after the Federal Reserve hiked interest rates by the biggest margin since 1994, but also said such mega-hikes would not be common
4:38PM ( 33 minutes ago )
New SBC President commits to move sex abuse reforms forward
Bart Barber, the newly elected president of the Southern Baptist Convention, is vowing to expedite sex abuse reforms in the nation’s largest Protestant denomination
4:22PM ( 49 minutes ago )
Alaska kids served sealant instead of milk at school program
A dozen students and two adults were served floor sealant instead of milk at a day care summer program at an Alaska elementary school
4:20PM ( 52 minutes ago )
AP National News
EXPLAINER: The last-ditch plan to have Pence stop Biden win
The House committee investigating the Capitol riot plans to focus its hearing Thursday on the pressure that Donald Trump put on Vice President Mike Pence in a last-ditch and potentially illegal plan to stop Joe Biden’s election victory
4:27PM ( 45 minutes ago )
Details of new military aid for Ukraine from US, allies
The $1 billion package of military assistance the U.S. announced for Ukraine is aimed at bolstering that country’s ability to push back Russian advances in the eastern Donbas region
4:14PM ( 58 minutes ago )
EXPLAINER: How 'bold' plan evolved for Pence to stop Biden
The House committee investigating the Capitol riot plans to focus its hearing Thursday on the pressure that Donald Trump put on Vice President Mike Pence in a last-ditch and potentially illegal plan to stop Joe Biden’s election victory
4:10PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
EU sues UK over move to rewrite post-Brexit trade rules
The European Union is suing Britain over its move to rewrite the trade rules agreed to when the country exited the EU two years ago
12:12PM ( 4 hours ago )
Laxalt's Nevada win sets up fierce race for Senate control
A former Nevada attorney general who has embraced lies about the 2020 election has won the Republican nomination for a pivotal U.S. Senate seat
11:33AM ( 5 hours ago )
Takeaways: Big Trump win, election deniers advance in Nevada
Donald Trump has notched a significant victory in South Carolina, where his preferred candidate made five-term Rep. Tom Rice the first Republican to be booted from office after voting to impeach the former president last year
10:23AM ( 6 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
Jan. 6 panel releases video of Capitol tour before attack
The House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol insurrection released video on Wednesday of a Capitol tour led by a Republican lawmaker the day before the attack, showing at least one participant taking photos of stairwells and tunnels in the Capitol complex
4:59PM ( 13 minutes ago )
DC trolls Saudi embassy by naming street Jamal Khashoggi Way
One month ahead of President Joe Biden’s trip to Saudi Arabia, the District of Columbia is renaming the street in front of the Saudi embassy Jamal Khashoggi Way, trolling Riyadh for its role in the killing of the dissident Saudi activist and journalist in 2018
4:59PM ( 13 minutes ago )
Fed attacks inflation with its largest rate hike since 1994
The Federal Reserve intensified its drive to tame high inflation by raising its key interest rate by three-quarters of a point — its largest hike in nearly three decades — and signaling more large rate increases to come that would raise the risk of another recession
4:57PM ( 15 minutes ago )
County's refusal to certify the vote hints at election chaos
The conspiracy theories about Dominion voting equipment that erupted during the 2020 presidential contest flared this week in a remote New Mexico county in what could be just a preview of the kind of chaos election experts fear is coming in the fall midterms and in 2024
4:55PM ( 16 minutes ago )
Ruth Ozeki's 'Book of Form and Emptiness' wins Women's Prize
Canadian-American writer Ruth Ozeki has won the prestigious Women’s Prize for Fiction for her novel called “The Book of Form and Emptiness.”
4:55PM ( 16 minutes ago )