(NewsNation) — A Minnesota man who was detained by Russian solders for more than a week says his captors thought he was a spy.
Tyler Jacob was on a bus from Crimea to Turkey to escape the war when soldiers told him to come with them.
Jacob and his mother, Tina Hauser, detailed the harrowing experience during a Wednesday interview on “NewsNation Prime.”
“I was the only American on the bus, so they saw my blue passport and they’re, like, ‘He’s gotta be a spy,’ and they detained me,” Jacob said, explaining how he came to be captured.
Jacob originally moved to Ukraine to teach English and was residing in Kherson during the early days of the war. He was detained by the Russian military for 10 days.
Jacob noted that suspicion of English teachers runs deep among some people in Russia.
“There’s a legend that the Russians have that 007, or James Bond, was actually an English teacher as their cover so they thought that I was of the legend,” he said.
Hauser immediately sought help from Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar. Klobuchar worked with the U.S. State Department and U.S. embassy in Moscow to locate Jacob and bring him to safety.
“It’s been very wonderful to have that embrace with Tyler last night. Instant tears of joy came through my face,” Hauser told “NewsNation Prime.”
Jacob’s wife and daughter are also safe in an unnamed NATO country, and he’s working to bring his family back to the United States.
“We’re trying to move down to Florida,” he said.
While being detained by the Russian military was frightening, Jacob was grateful for all the support he received afterwards.
“It was a giant negative situation that happened towards me, and the stress that it put on everybody here is just astronomical, but the humanity that some people showed me still shows that there’s still good people on Earth, no matter what country you come from,” he concluded.