Two American volunteers fighting for Ukraine were taken into detention by Russian-backed separatists in Donetsk after being captured last week, according to Russian state media.
US citizens Alexander John-Robert Drueke, 39, from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and Andy Tai Ngoc Huynh, 27, from Hartselle, Alabama, were interviewed by Russia’s RT channel at a detention center in the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) on Friday, according to a report published on RT.
The two Americans went missing on June 9 during a battle north of Kharkiv and it was feared that they may have been captured by Russian forces, according to their families and a fellow fighter.
On Friday, short video clips surfaced on pro-Russian channels and social media appearing to show the men detained at an unknown location. At the time it was not clear who was holding them.
A State Department spokesperson told CNN on Friday they “have seen the photos and videos of these two US citizens reportedly captured by Russia’s military forces in Ukraine” and were “closely monitoring the situation.”
“We are in contact with Ukrainian authorities, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and with the families themselves,” they continued. “Due to privacy considerations, we have no further comment on these cases.”
Separately, a more than 50-minute edited video was published on Saturday of Drueke and Huynh being interviewed by HelmCast, a pro-Russian Serbian nationalist YouTube channel.
In the interview, a man can be heard behind the camera revealing the location of their interview when he says, “here in Donetsk” during a question to Drueke.
Drueke is also asked in the interview if he has any objections to how he has been treated since his capture and he reveals he has been beaten.
CNN is choosing not to broadcast the videos of US detainees because they show the men speaking under duress.
The location of Drueke and Huynh’s detention is