Two American nationals have instructed RT that they surrendered to Russian forces after being deserted by their Ukrainian commanders. The pair instructed veterans like them to “suppose twice” earlier than making the journey to Ukraine.
Alexander Drueke and Andy Huynh spoke to RT from a detention middle within the Donbass Folks’s Republic, a day after The Every day Telegraph reported that they’d been taken prisoner. The British newspaper described them as being the primary Americans captured whereas preventing for Ukraine, and Washington has vowed to safe their return.
The 2 veterans – Drueke served two excursions with the US Military in Iraq whereas Huynh labored in logistics for the Marine Corps in Okinawa, Japan – have been captured simply hours after being despatched to the entrance strains close to Kharkov final week. Beneath the command of Ukraine’s secret police, the SBU, Huynh mentioned that the pair have been despatched to cowl a Ukrainian retreat.
“We have been instructed to put up up on somewhat overlook,” Huynh recalled, describing how he was armed with a Czech CZ rifle and a Rocket-Propelled Grenade (RPG) launcher. Columns of Ukrainans retreated previous their level, adopted by armored automobiles and a tank belonging to both Russia or the DPR.
“When [the tank] shot the primary time, I used to be readying my RPG,” Huynh mentioned. He claimed that the tank shot at a special place moments later, and considering it was firing upon him, Huynh shouldered his weapon and fired a rocket on the automobile, however missed. With the Ukrainian troops gone, Huynh and Drueke “ran away and hid in a preventing gap,” as Russian automobiles and foot patrols handed by.
“We have been initially alleged to do [reconnaissance] with drones,” Drueke instructed RT, “however after we received to our location there was already a battle of kinds in progress. Our plans modified…and one teammate and I have been left within the woods.”
When the coast was clear, the People set off strolling by means of a forest for a number of hours earlier than Drueke mentioned that they “took a unsuitable flip or a misstep and made it right into a village. We have been approached by a Russian patrol and instantly surrendered to them.”
At present in captivity, the stakes for Drueke and Huynh are excessive. Final week, the Russia-allied Donetsk Folks’s Republic sentenced to dying three overseas fighters captured through the battle for Mariupol, together with two Britons. The republic’s high courtroom dominated that they have been mercenaries and thus not granted privileges that common prisoners of struggle would take pleasure in underneath worldwide legislation.
Each males described truthful therapy by the hands of their Russian captors, describing how Russian troops gave them meals, heat blankets and cigarettes. Nonetheless, Drueke mentioned that he has heard rumors that the pair might probably be sentenced to dying.
Drueke, who left the US army in 2014, initially set out for Ukraine with out a clear plan. Flying to Poland with the intention of doing humanitarian work, he however introduced army gear and mentioned that he was ready to battle, even when army service “was not the be-all and end-all.” He mentioned that whereas he was distrustful of American information protection, he believed that Ukraine’s wrestle was being portrayed in a means that “would attraction to veterans like myself.”
Now, with Ukrainian shells falling on civilian targets within the majority-Russian talking metropolis of Donetsk, he instructed RT that he realized “there are two sides to this story and I used to be not getting one in all them.”
Huynh mentioned that he’d traveled to Ukraine in April and contacted a Polish priest overseeing humanitarian aid, however quickly made contacts in Ukraine’s ‘Worldwide Legion.’ After becoming a member of the legion, he left shortly afterwards, citing corruption and disorganization inside the ranks.
“Commanders have been very corrupt and troops have been very ill-prepared and equipped,” he mentioned. Drueke additionally started his responsibility in Ukraine with the legion, the place he mentioned he was “dissatisfied with the caliber of particular person they’d there.”
Each males traveled the nation in search of a extra competent unit to affix, earlier than ending up within the so-called ‘Activity Power Baguette’ in jap Ukraine, a overseas mercenary unit consisting primarily of American and French veterans. The unit confirmed on Wednesday that Drueke and Huynh – referred to by their nicknames ‘Bama’ and ‘Hate’ – had been captured.
“Watching the propaganda from the West, it says how superb all Ukraine is, and once I got here right here I noticed how not true that was,” Huynh instructed RT. “The Ukrainians say they’re the most effective, however from what I’ve seen, I’ve seen loads of corruption.”
Drueke ended his interview with a warning. “Fellow veterans like me who’re considering of coming: don’t.”
“Suppose actually lengthy and arduous about why you’re doing it and what can occur, and if that is actually your battle,” he mentioned. “If I make it out of this case, I’ve loads of issues to consider.”
At time of writing, the US has not formally acknowledged the seize of Drueke and Huynh. In line with Russian figures, 6,956 overseas residents from 64 nations have arrived in Ukraine since February to battle for Kiev. Some 1,956 of these have been killed, whereas 1,779 have left the nation, the Russian Protection Ministry acknowledged on Friday.