US veterans captured by Russia-backed forces in Ukraine are returning home, families say

The families of captured U.S. Army Volunteers Alex Druke and Andy Hune have confirmed to that both have been released from captivity and are on their way home.

“They are safely in the custody of the U.S. Embassy in Saudi Arabia and will return to the States after a medical examination and debriefing,” relative Diana Shaw, who spoke on behalf of the Druke family, told

Darla Black, mother of Joy Black, Hayne’s fiancee, said the two men “were coming home together.” She added: “We are overwhelmed as you can imagine.”

Read more: This is why Putin is calling on veterans to fight in his war in Ukraine

The men are being released as part of a wider deal for the release of 10 people brokered by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. This was reported by Reuters earlier on Wednesday. reached out to the State Department for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.

Drueke and Huynh were captured by Russian or Russian-backed forces in June during the fighting in northeastern Ukraine, near the city of Kharkiv. At the time of their capture, they were reportedly part of a small contingent of Ukrainian-backed forces, made up mostly of American and French volunteers, called Task Force Baguette.

Both men spent about 100 days in captivity.

“We deeply appreciate everyone’s prayers and especially the close communication and support of our elected officials, Ukrainian Ambassador Markorova and our staff at the US Embassies in Ukraine and Saudi Arabia and the US State Department,” Shaw said.

This story is still a work in progress and updates will be added as soon as they are confirmed.

— Drew F. Lawrence can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @df_lawrence.

— Konstantin Toropin can be contacted at Follow him on Twitter @ktoropin.

On the subject: How two American veterans ended up in Ukraine captured by Russian militants

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