Alabama veterans held captive in Ukraine have been freed

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC)-The household of Alex Drueke, a former US soldier held captive by Russian-backed forces, mentioned he has been freed, together with fellow American Andy Huynh.

Drueke’s aunt, Dianna Shaw, confirmed to WBRC’s Mike Dubberly that the household obtained a name Wednesday morning from the US embassy in Saudi Arabia that each Drueke and Huynh had been launched.

Shaw mentioned the embassy lady requested Lois “Bunny” Drueke a number of questions to verify that she was her mom. The lady then put Alex Drueke on the cellphone and allowed him to talk to her mom. Bunny mentioned: “He sounded robust, he spoke clearly, he thought clearly, he seemed like himself.

The household doesn’t but know the preparations for a way the boys will likely be introduced house.

Assertion from the Drueke household:

“We’re delighted to announce that Alex and Andy are free. They’re safely within the custody of the US embassy in Saudi Arabia and, after medical checks and questioning, will return to america. We deeply recognize everybody’s prayers and particularly the shut communication and assist of our elected officers, Ambassador of Ukraine Markarova and our members on the US Embassies in Ukraine and Saudi Arabia and the US Division of State.

From the Division of State:

The US welcomes the Ukraine-Russia negotiated prisoner swap, which incorporates two US residents captured whereas serving in Ukraine’s army. The US appreciates that Ukraine consists of all prisoners of conflict, no matter nationality, in its negotiations, and we hope that these Americans will likely be reunited with their households. We additionally thank our Saudi companions for serving to spearhead this humanitarian effort and facilitating the return of ten international nationals, together with the 2 US residents obtained immediately by our embassy group in Riyadh. I conveyed my gratitude to Saudi Arabia’s International Minister Faisal bin Farhan in a name this morning.

As soon as once more, we reiterate that US residents shouldn’t journey to Ukraine as a result of lively armed battle and the identification of US residents in Ukraine by Russian authorities safety officers. US residents in Ukraine ought to depart instantly whether it is secure to take action utilizing any accessible industrial or non-public floor transportation choices. Individuals who journey to Ukraine to take part within the combating there face important dangers, and america can not assure their security. We encourage Americans to commit their energies to the numerous different alternatives that exist to assist the nation of Ukraine and its folks.

Assertion from the Ministry of International Affairs:‏‎

Constructing on the precedence given by HRH Prince Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud, Crown Prince and Deputy Prime Minister, and in continuation of HRH’s dedication to humanitarian initiatives in direction of the Russo-Ukrainian disaster, and because of HRH’s continued engagement with related nations, the Ministry of International Affairs broadcasts the success of SAR mediation efforts that led to the discharge of ten prisoners of conflict (POW), who’re Moroccan, American, British, Swedish and Croatian residents, who’re being launched as a part of a POW trade between Russia and Ukraine. The related Saudi authorities obtained and transferred them from Russia to the Kingdom and are facilitating the procedures for his or her secure return to their respective nations. On this regard, the Ministry of International Affairs expresses the gratitude and appreciation of the Authorities of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the Russian Federation and Ukraine for his or her response to the efforts made by the Crown Prince for the discharge of prisoners of conflict.

Congressman Robert Aderholt issued this assertion: “Andy Huynh’s household has knowledgeable my workplace that the 2 veterans have been launched from captivity in jap Ukraine,” Congressman Aderholt mentioned. “My workplace is working to get extra data from the US State Division on the well being of those males and the way quickly they are going to be introduced house to their households in america.”

“I wish to say how grateful and relieved I’m that they’ve been launched. Having met with Pleasure and Darla Black, I do know they’re past relieved and excited by this information. I do know all of us sit up for seeing you again safely on American soil.”

Aderholt mentioned that in response to Andy Huynh’s household, Andy and Alex are at present on the US Embassy within the Saudi capital, Riyadh, the place they’re present process a medical analysis.

Consultant Sewell spoke with the household of Alex Drueke immediately following the information of his launch. Mrs. Lois “Bunny” Drueke, his mom, and Mrs. Dianna Shaw, his aunt, launched the next joint assertion:

“We’re delighted to announce that Alex and Andy are free. They’re secure within the custody of the US Embassy in Saudi Arabia and after medical checks and debriefing, they are going to return to america. We deeply recognize everybody’s prayers and particularly the cooperation and assist of Consultant Sewell and the US Division of State.”

Drueke and Huynh have been serving within the Ukrainian Military when the unit they have been assigned to got here below heavy assault on June 9, 2022. The households first realized that the boys have been lacking in motion on June 13 and obtained proof of his captivity two days later.

New photographs of Alex Drueke(Drueke Household/Dianna Shaw)

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