President Joe Biden said on Friday he did not know the whereabouts of three Americans missing in Ukraine after volunteering to fight the Russian invasion.
Speaking to reporters at the White House, Biden urged American citizens not to travel to pro-Western Ukraine, which has been battling the Russian onslaught since February.
“I have been informed. We don’t know where they are,” he said, adding that “Americans should not go to Ukraine now. I repeat: Americans should not go to Ukraine. Ukraine”.
The State Department says three Americans are missing, among an unknown number of mostly military veterans who joined other foreigners volunteering alongside Ukrainian troops.
A photograph of two of the missing men is circulating on Russian social media, apparently showing them with their hands tied in the back of a truck.
Families and members of Congress say Alexander Drueke and Andy Huynh, who both lived in Alabama, lost contact with loved ones while fighting with Ukrainian forces near the Russian border.
A third man, identified as a former U.S. Marine captain with 20 years of experience, was last heard from in late April, UKTN quoted his wife as saying.
Russian proxy authorities in the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic, a Moscow-controlled strip of eastern Ukraine, have sentenced to death two Britons and a Moroccan man captured earlier in the fighting.
“The Russians have certain obligations and members of the Ukrainian armed forces – including volunteers who may be third-country nationals drafted into the armed forces – must be treated as prisoners of war under the Geneva Conventions,” he said. State Department spokesman Ned Price. Thursday.
But the White House is keeping a low profile for now on missing US citizens, whose fate could become a politically sensitive issue in the crisis with Russia.
Press officer Karine Jean-Pierre said on Thursday that the government “cannot talk about this information”, but “is working very hard to find out where it is”.
“Our hearts go out to their families,” she said.
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