Mom of US vet freed from Russian captivity awaits his return

Russia At War

(NewsNation) — Lois “Bunny” Drueke finally received the news she’s been waiting for Wednesday three months after her son, Alex Drueke, was taken prisoner while fighting with Ukrainian forces.

“I don’t think that I’ve touched the ground since I got the phone call 24 hours ago,” she told NewsNation. “It’s just so amazing and exciting.”

Alex, 40, was among 10 prisoners released by Russian-backed separatists as part of a prisoner exchange mediated by Saudi Arabia.

While Bunny has been working tirelessly to keep her son’s name in the headlines and bring him home, she had no idea it was going to happen until she got the call. It just “came out of the blue,” she said.

Alex was seen by doctors as a precaution and treated for dehydration, she said, but he is otherwise in good health.

“The doctor said he’s cleared them to be able to come home. So we’ve been busy trying to coordinate all the flight plans and get them home soon,” said Bunny.

Alex is currently in Saudi Arabia, who helped broker the deal with the Russian-backed separatists, Bunny expects him back in the U.S. in a couple of days.

Alex wasn’t the only American released in the deal.

Andy Huynh, 27, was also captured in June in eastern Ukraine. The two went missing after their unit came under heavy fire in the Kharkiv region of northeastern Ukraine near the Russian border June 9.

Both men are veterans. Alex served two tours in Iraq and Huynh served four years in the U.S. Marines.

Bunny said the two families have been in constant contact since the men disappeared.

“We have stayed in touch with his fiancee, Joy, and her mother. We talk every day,” she said.

Huynh, according to Bunny, was able to call Joy for the first time in more than 100 days.

“I don’t think [Joy] has stopped smiling since she heard it,” Bunny said.

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