Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for the Kremlin, told NBC News during an interview on Monday that he couldn't guarantee that two Americans captured by Russia in Ukraine won't face the death penalty.
"It depends on the investigation," Peskov said. The captured men — Alexander Drueke, 39, and Andy Huynh, 27 — are both military veterans, and Peskov accused them of being "involved in illegal activities" in Ukraine, including "firing at our military guys. They were endangering their lives."
Peskov went on to promise "there will be a court, and there will be a court decision," adding that "they should be punished" for being "soldiers of fortune." Peskov would not tell NBC News whether Drueke and Huynh are being held in Russia or by pro-Russia forces in eastern Ukraine, but said since they are not members of Ukraine's army, they are likely not covered by Geneva Conventions for prisoners of war. Russia's state-controlled RT network reported on Friday that Drueke and Huynh are being held by separatists.
In early March, Ukraine's government said more than 20,000 people from 52 countries volunteered to fight against Russia with the International Legion of Ukraine. When asked by NBC News, a spokesman for the foreign legion on Monday said he could not "confirm or deny" whether Drueke and Huynh were part of the force. Last week, Drueke's mother said he was in Ukraine on an advisory level, rather than as a fighter.