Ukraine Live Updates: Losses take a toll as Russia gains territory

debt…Darla Black, via Lois Drook

The State Department said Saturday it had reviewed photos and videos of two Americans captured in Ukraine, but declined to comment on the authenticity of the images or the conditions of the men.

A State Department spokesman said US officials had been in contact with the families of the men, Ukrainian officials and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The Red Cross declined to comment on the case.

The men, Alex Drueke, 39, and Andy Tai Ngoc Huynh, 27, were reported missing by their families last week, and the State Department on Saturday described them as “allegedly captured by Russian forces in Ukraine.” Both were US soldiers who volunteered to fight in Ukraine.

The Russian government has not publicly commented on the reports.

On Friday, short videos were posted on YouTube showing the two men, in which they said in Russian, “I am against war.” It is not clear when or by whom the videos were recorded.

Russian state broadcaster RT later said it had interviewed the men, who had surrendered to Russian troops and were being held at a detention center controlled by Russian-backed forces. Watermarked RT videos spread on social media, showing men talking about their experiences individually from the camera.

Mr. Drook’s mother Lois Drooke said on Saturday that she and her family celebrated after watching the first video, although it was only a matter of seconds.

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“I saw it again yesterday,” he said. “It’s wonderful to see him and see that he’s alive.”

Because of his “body language, facial expressions, gestures and, most importantly, his soft voice,” in the videos it was Mr. The family firmly believed that Drook was Diana Williams, his aunt. However, the State Department has not yet informed the family whether officials believe the videos are genuine.

A former U.S. Army sergeant who served on two tours in Iraq, Mr. Drook had warned his mother that if he ever was imprisoned he might be asked to read a script, Ms Williams said. He said the family understood that everything he said should be taken with a drop of salt.

“After the great relief we felt while watching the videos, we are also scared because we now know he is in captivity,” he said.

Mr. Darla Black, the mother of Huin’s fianc மனைவிe Joy Black, said she was relieved to see the videos.

“It’s comforting to hear his voice,” said the elder, Mrs. Black. “It’s not the situation we want him to be, but as long as he speaks, he breathes.”

The intrusion and contraction of the male voice in that video was well known, although it was Mr. They could not confirm that it was Huin.

Ms. Black said the videos reminded her of records of prisoners of war from Vietnam. “Everyone knows that prisoners are not free to speak their minds,” he said.

The State Department declined to comment further on the case, citing privacy concerns. But President Biden reiterated Friday’s warning, “I want to reiterate: Americans should not go to Ukraine now.”

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Management said the whereabouts of the men were unknown.

Last week, a court in the Russian-occupied eastern Ukraine Sentenced to death three foreign fighters, Accused men of being mercenaries from Britain and Morocco. Western nations have condemned the ruling, and legal experts say the trial appears to have served as a warning to foreign volunteers that, if caught, the protection provided to prisoners of war under the Geneva Convention could be denied.

Conferences, It administers the law of war And Russia’s signature, stating that captured volunteers can also be considered prisoners of war. The primary definition of a mercenary under international law is that one who fights primarily for financial gain is paid significantly more than the local armed forces.

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