July 2, 2022

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Russians arrest American volunteers in Kharkiv: the risk of escalation between the United States and Moscow

Two American volunteers were arrested Ukraine by Russian troops near Kharkiv. The Telegraph Reports, noting that Robert Derwerk and Andy Hoen – US Army veterans from Alabama – were captured last week. Druerke and Huynh left for Ukraine as volunteers to help the forces Kyiv.

Who are the two Americans who were captured?

Alexander Drake, 39, and Andy Hoen, 27, were captured during a fierce battle outside the northeastern city of Kharkiv last week while serving as volunteers in a regular unit of the Ukrainian army. They are believed to be the first US military to end up as Russian prisoners of war. The two join a growing number of Western military volunteers captured by Russian forces, including at least two Britons. Aiden Aslin and Sean Benner were accused of being “mercenaries” and sentenced to death by pro-Russian separatists in Donetsk.

Drwick is from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and previously served with the US Army in Iraq. Her mother, Lewis, 68, told The Telegraph that she had been struggling to keep a job since returning from military service with PTSD. “The US embassy assured me that they were doing their best to find him and that they were looking for him alive, not dead. I try my best not to break up, I’ll stay strong. I am absolutely sure they will keep it in exchange for Russian prisoners of warher words.

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escalate risks

The arrest of the Americans is expected to become diplomatically sensitive as the Kremlin may try to use it as evidence that the United States is directly involved in the war. Russian President Vladimir Putin is likely to demand major concessions for their release. A companion of the two men, who asked not to be named, told The Telegraph that Drake and Huynh were captured after they encountered a much larger Russian force during last Thursday’s battle. “We were on a mission and the whole thing got crazy, with bad information,” he said. “We were told the city was free when it turned out that the Russians were actually attacking it.”