Alex Drueke, captured former U.S. soldier, makes contact with mother, State Department

(Family photo)
Published: Jun. 29, 2022 at 3:24 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 29, 2022 at 6:52 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - UPDATE FROM AP: The mother of a U.S. military veteran who went missing after he traveled to help Ukraine in its fight against Russia has spoken with her son by telephone. Relatives say Lois “Bunny” Drueke, of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, answered a call from what appeared to be a Russian exchange and talked to son Alex Drueke on Tuesday for nearly 10 minutes.

ORIGINAL: One of the two Alabama men captured in Ukraine was able to send a message to family through the State Department.

Retired Sgt. Alex Drueke, from Tuscaloosa, was captured in Ukraine along with Andy Huynh, of Hartselle, in June 2022.

Drueke was captured while volunteering to train Ukrainian forces.

His mother, Bunny, says she recently got to hear from her son for the first time in weeks. She says Alex got to leave a message for her with the State Department.

She says he told her he is OK.

“It was basically the same message as in the short video where he addressed his mother - saying he is OK, he is receiving food and water and has shelter and bedding,” said Dianna Shaw, his aunt. ”We want to believe all these things, and it is Russia’s responsibility to make sure it’s all true,” said Mrs. Shaw.

“Having Alex call and say these things tells me that Russia knows the world is watching how they treat the two men. Russia has the influence over their surrogates to see that Alex and Andy are given humane treatment as POWs and eventually released unharmed,” she said.

“I’m just glad to know Alex is alive and to know for sure where he is,” Mrs. Drueke said. “Every ‘unknown’ that becomes a ‘known’ is one step closer to his release.”

Drueke’s family said he left the U.S. in mid-April, entering Poland legally and making contact with Ukrainian forces from there to volunteer. He moved from unit to unit, helping train Ukrainian soldiers in using the equipment they were receiving from other nations.

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