The United States on Thursday urged Russia to treat all American volunteers captured while fighting alongside Ukrainian troops as prisoners of war guaranteeing humane treatment.
The State Department also said a third American was reported missing in Ukraine, in addition to two military veterans who were reportedly captured by Russian forces in a pitched battle last week.
“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. journalists.
Prisoners of war must enjoy “the treatment and protections commensurate with that status, including humane treatment and fundamental procedural and fair trial guarantees”, he said.
Families and members of Congress said Wednesday that Alexander Drueke and Andy Huynh, two American veterans who lived in Alabama, lost contact with loved ones last week while fighting with Ukrainian forces near the border. Russian.
Price said the United States could not confirm details of the pair and there were reports of a third US citizen who had gone missing “in recent weeks”.
The Geneva Conventions, originating in the 19th century and updated after World War II, define the rights of prisoners of war, including the prohibition of torture and the guarantee of medical treatment.
Under former President George W Bush, the United States controversially referred to combatants detained in the “war on terror” as enemy combatants rather than prisoners of war, circumventing the protections provided by the Geneva Conventions.
President Joe Biden’s administration, while sending billions of dollars in arms and economic aid to Ukraine, argues that the United States is not directly fighting Russia and has discouraged Americans from traveling to the war zone.
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