Ex-hostage describes ‘nightmare’ captive Americans enduring

Russia At War

WASHINGTON (NewsNation) — A journalist who was accused of spying and spent more than a year in an Iranian jail says the experience was a “nightmare.” He believes the situation for two Americans who were captured in Ukraine is likely worse.

“I don’t imagine they’re being held in friendly quarters,” said formerly jailed journalist Jason Rezaian. “I doubt they’re being given access to adequate medical care.”

Russian state media footage showed the men — 39-year-old Alexander Drueke and 27-year-old Andy Huynh — alive just days ago. It’s believed the two men, who volunteered to fight alongside Ukrainian troops, were captured by Russian or pro-Russian forces.

The men, both veterans, went missing after their group came under heavy fire in the Kharkiv region of northeastern Ukraine near the Russian border June 9, leaving loved ones at home anxiously awaiting information about their whereabouts. The two families are in touch.

Huynh moved to north Alabama two years ago from his native California and lives about 120 miles from Drueke. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesperson said the Geneva Conventions would not apply to Drueke and Huynh because they were “involved in illegal activities.”

The U.S. State Department said they’ve been in direct contact with Russian authorities but don’t have any details on where the men are. They’ve called on the Russian government to live up to their international obligations and treat those captured humanely. 

Rezaian said, given his experience in captivity, he remains hopeful for Drueke and Huynh’s release.

“I came to understand that in any one of these cases, it doesn’t matter who the president is,” he said. “It falls to the president whether our government is going to do the deal that is required to bring people home.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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