WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States said on Thursday it has not asked Russia about two U.S. citizens reported missing after traveling to Ukraine to fight against Russian forces and said there are reports of a third missing American.
“As of today, we have not raised this yet with the Russian Federation … (We) haven’t seen anything from the Russians indicating that two such individuals are in their custody,” U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters, describing reports about the two men as unconfirmed.
Alexander Drueke, 39, of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and Andy Huynh, 27, of Hartselle, Alabama, went to Ukraine as volunteer fighters against Russian forces, have been missing for a week, and are feared captured, family members have said.
Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, saying it was engaged in a “special military operation” to disarm and “denazify” its neighbor. Ukraine and its allies say Moscow has launched an unprovoked war of aggression, killing thousands of civilians.
Reports that the two had been taken as prisoners of war by Russia are unconfirmed, the families and U.S. officials have said. Earlier, the White House said it was “working very hard to learn more” about the two.
“There are reports of one additional American whose whereabouts are unknown… Our understanding was that this individual had traveled to Ukraine,” Price added, saying the third American was identified as missing in recent weeks.
(Reporting By Costas Pitas, Daphne Psaledakis; Writing by Arshad Mohammed; Editing by Chris Reese and Rosalba O’Brien)