Speed Reads

behind enemy lines

Russian media broadcasts messages from captured U.S. military veterans

Russian news outlet RT broadcast messages on Friday from Alex Drueke and Andy Huynh, two U.S. military veterans from Alabama who traveled to Ukraine to help defend the country against Russia's invasion, Fox News reported.

The two have been missing since last week.

"Mom, I just want to let you know that I'm alive and I hope to be back home as soon as I can be," Drueke said. He also advised veterans like him not to travel to Ukraine.

Huynh told RT that he saw "a lot of corruption" in Ukraine. "Watching the propaganda from the West, it says how glorious all Ukraine is, and when I came here I saw how not true that was," he said.

The two veterans reportedly surrendered to a Russian patrol after being separated from their group and are being held by Russian-backed separatist forces. Drueke and Huynh had been fighting alongside Ukrainian troops north of Kharkiv.

According to Fox, Drueke's aunt, Dianna Shaw, "said the video recording included a secret word and gesture" they had arranged, "verifying his identity and letting her know he was OK."

A third American veteran, Grady Kurpasi, is also missing in action in Ukraine.

"We don't know where they are, but I want to reiterate: Americans should not be going to Ukraine now," President Biden said Friday.