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The family of one of three US service members missing in Ukraine believe he may have been captured following a clash with Russian forces in eastern Ukraine earlier this month.
US servicemen Alexander Drueke, 39, and Andy Huynh, 27, were reported missing earlier this week following the June 9 skirmish with Russian forces, and the State Department announced Thursday that a third US citizen is also nowhere to be found.
Drueke, a former U.S. Army staff sergeant who served two tours in Iraq and a Ukrainian army volunteer, was part of a Ukrainian platoon that came under heavy fire on June 9 as he was in a strategic position, and when the platoon fell back, everyone was accounted for. except for Dureke and Huynh, Drueke’s family said in a statement to Fox News Digital.
Ground and drone surveys have shown no signs of Drueke so far.
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“It could mean they are in hiding or they have been captured,” Drueke’s mother, Bunny Drueke, said in a statement.
The last time she spoke to her son on the phone was June 5, and the last time she received a text was June 8.
“[G]oing dark for almost everything tomorrow. Maybe the next day too,” reads his latest text message, according to his family.
On June 13, she received a text message from another member of the platoon informing her of the disappearance of her son and the other missing American soldier.
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Drueke left the United States in mid-April and entered Ukraine via Poland. He made contact with Ukrainian forces from there and helped train soldiers using drones and other weapons before being assigned to a platoon.
“When Russia invaded Ukraine, Alex immediately told me he wanted to use his skills to train Ukrainians in the use of American weapons,” Bunny Drueke said. “He is unmarried, he has no children, and he has the training and the experience. He felt it was his duty to help defend democracy, where it is necessary.”
Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Ala., and Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., helped the family contact the State Department, the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, and the International Red Cross.
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Drueke turns 40 on June 24. He had hiked the Appalachian Trail in early 2020 before it was closed due to COVID-19 and lived in rural western Alabama until he left for Ukraine.
Huynh, a former Marine, also reportedly traveled from his home state of Alabama to fight in ukraine in April, hasn’t heard from him since June 8, when he told his fiancée, Joy Black, that he would be unreachable for the next “few days.”
“He told me for a few days that ‘I’m going to be busy soon,'” Black previously told Fox News Digital. “He didn’t tell me what specifically because I don’t think he wanted to worry me.”
The State Department told Fox News Digital on Wednesday it was aware of unconfirmed reports of the two missing Americans. The Department urges Americans not to travel to Ukraine.
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State Department spokesman Ned Price said Friday that “there are reports of another American whose whereabouts are unknown,” but he could “not speak to specifics. of this case”.
“We have not yet raised this issue with the Russian Federation. If we believe that such outreach through our embassy in Moscow or otherwise would be productive in terms of seeking more information on the fate of these people, we will not hesitate to do so,” he said.
Fox News’ Ronn Blitzer, Jacqui Heinrich, Caitlin McFall and Ashley Pappa contributed to this report.