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Reports: Two AL men fighting in Ukraine now missing in action

Published: Jun. 16, 2022 at 5:24 AM CDT|Updated: Jun. 19, 2022 at 10:52 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Two Americans who have been fighting alongside the Ukranians have been reported missing. Both are from Alabama and one of them is a Tuscaloosa native.

Photo shows American fighters Alexander John-Robert Drueke and Andy Tai Ngoc Huynh in the back...
Photo shows American fighters Alexander John-Robert Drueke and Andy Tai Ngoc Huynh in the back of a Russian truck with their hands tied("The V" Telegram/CNN)

LATEST UPDATE: The Drueke family has released an updated statement regarding the status of 39-year-old Alexander Drueke:

New pictures of Alex Drueke
New pictures of Alex Drueke(Drueke family/Dianna Shaw)
New pictures of Alex Drueke
New pictures of Alex Drueke(Drueke family/Dianna Shaw)

UPDATE: A photo posted on Telegram by a Russian blogger appears to show 39-year-old Alexander Drueke and 27-year-old Andy Huynh with their hands tied behind their backs, in a Russian military truck. According to CNN, the State Department hasn’t confirmed whether the photo is real, but they acknowledge the two men are missing.

Drueke’s family provided a new statement regarding the picture:

“Our contact at the state department is aware of the possible photographic evidence of Alex’s and Andy’s capture circulating on Russian media. They are working to verify it and we expect to hear from them as soon as they do. In this age of easy photo manipulation, we want to be cautious, but this does make us very optimistic. The state department has been excellent about keeping our family apprised. We wish to thank Rep. Terri Sewell and Sen. Richard Shelby for making their staff available to us.”

“We are some bogus Clickbait headlines floating around saying that our family has been begging our government or President Biden to help. I want to get the word out that this is absolutely not true. Our government contacts and elected officials are working together beautifully and keeping us informed. We feel supported by our government and it has been heartening to see all the agencies working together.”

ORIGINAL: Alex Drueke’s mom says she hasn’t heard from her son in a week. She got a text from him that day saying “going dark for almost all of tomorrow...possibly the next day too.”

In a statement to WBRC, the family says the 39-year-old former Army staff sergeant Alex Drueke and current volunteer in the Ukrainian Army is missing in action following a skirmish with Russian forces in east Ukraine. The family says Drueke’s platoon came under heavy fire on June 9. Drueke and another volunteer soldier Andy Huynh, also from Alabama haven’t been seen since.

“He’s one of the most loyal Americans you would ever hope to meet, and he was proud to serve his country and he said mom I really need to go and help fight in Ukraine because if Putin is not stopped there he’s not going to be satisfied. He’ll become embolden and eventually Americans will be threatened and he needs to be stopped now,” Bunny Drueke, Alex’s mom said.

We’re told Drueke left the U.S. in mid-April, entering Poland legally and make contact with Ukrainian forces from there. His family says he’s been training Ukrainian soldiers on how to operate drones and other weapons prior to being assigned to accompany the platoon.

Tuscaloosa Councilman Kip Tyner is close with the Drueke family and says they are holding out hope their loved one will be found safe. The family is now anxiously waiting to get more information.

“Of course they are extremely nervous and upset over what they don’t know. We’re all praying for them and praying that they’ll get some good news,” Tyner said.

We did receive statements from Senators Richard Shelby, Tommy Tuberville and Representative Terri Sewell who are monitoring the situation and keeping the families in contact with the State Department and U.S. Embassy in Ukraine.

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