Americans captured in Ukraine were “mercenaries” engaged in illegal activities and should take responsibility for their “crimes”, said Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov. In the first comments by the Kremlin over the detention of two Americans in the pro-Russian region so-called Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), Peskov said in an interview with NBC that the men did not come under the Geneva convention as they were not regular Ukrainian troops fighting against Russia.
Peskov further said that the two Americans captured in Ukraine while fighting with the Ukrainian military were “endangering” the Russian soldiers and should be “held accountable for those crimes”.
He said, “They’re soldiers of fortune and they were involved in illegal activities on the territory of Ukraine. They were involved in firing and shelling our military personnel. They were endangering their lives”.
“They should be held responsible for those crimes that they have committed…Those crimes have to be investigated,” he also said in the first bits of the interview made public by the network.
When asked about the kind of crimes that both Americans, Alexander John-Robert Drueke and Andy Tai Ngoc Huynh, have committed, Oeskov confessed that their specific offences remained unknown. However, the Kremlin spokesperson went on to say that they would not be covered under the Geneva Convention on prisoners of war.
“They are not (in the) Ukrainian army, so they are not subject to the Geneva Conventions,” the Kremlin spokesman said.
Two Americans detained in pro-Russia DPR
Earlier, two American volunteers fighting for Ukraine were taken into detention by the pro-Russian separatists in Donetsk after they were captured last week, stated Russian media. RT stated that the US citizens Alexander John-Robert Drueke from Tuscaloosa, Alabama and Andy Tai Ngoc Huynh from Hartselle, Alabama were interviewed by Russian state media at the detention centre in the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) on Friday after they both went missing on June 9.
39-year-old Drueke and 27-year-old Huynh disappeared during a battle in north of Kharkiv and CNN stated that it was feared the Americans might have been captured by the Russian forces, according to families and a fellow fighter. A US State Department spokesperson had told CNN on Friday that they “have seen the photos and videos of these two citizens reportedly captured by Russia’s military forces in Ukraine” and were “closely monitoring the situation.”
“We are in contact with Ukrainian authorities, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and with the families themselves,” they continued. “Due to privacy considerations, we have no further comment on these cases.”