Group frees American held hostage by Russian forces in Ukraine

Russia At War

(NewsNation Now) — Kirillo Alexandrov, a 27-year-old U.S. citizen who was held hostage by Russian forces in Ukraine, is now safe in Poland.

Alexandrov talked with NewsNation on Wednesday, saying it’s “such a relief. I’m so happy to be here with my family.”

Alexandrov and his family were held captive since March in a Russian-controlled area of Ukraine.

Project Dynamo, an evacuation nonprofit based in Florida, announced Tuesday it rescued the Michigan-born American citizen and his family from around Kherson.

Video shows the reunion and the hugs upon his release.

Alexandrov was living in Ukraine with his Ukrainian wife and mother-in-law. He said he was interrogated and accused by Russia of being a spy in March.

He was fed, but also described being beaten at times and even undergoing a mock execution.

Alexandrov described his detention as “terrifying,”

“Terrified by the uncertainty,” he said. “Inside broke me in ways that I’ve never been broken in my entire life.”

Project Dynamo said Alexandrov’s mother contacted the group asking if they could help rescue her son and his family. They called the mission “Detroit Lions” because of Alexandrov’s connection to Michigan.

Co-founder Bryan Stern said while the nonprofit was negotiating with Alexandrov’s captors, it made a move when a rare opportunity presented itself.

“Kirillo was in captivity. And then he wasn’t in captivity. Nobody knew until it was all over,” Stern said.

The nonprofit said, however, they had been informing the U.S. State Department about their actions.

NewsNation asked Alexandrov what it was like in those first moments of freedom.

“It was the first step to the next step to the next step that meant my family and I were going to live,” he said. “Again it was a sigh of relief but still even right now I’m just praying that I’m not dreaming.”

A State Department spokesperson told NewsNation they are aware of these reports, but declined to comment more specifically for privacy reasons.

Asked what he’ll do first when he gets back to the U.S., Alexandrov said what comes to mind is a simple family meal.

“Just sit down and eat and enjoy one another’s presence and be more grateful for the things that I have,” he said.

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