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Saturday, May 27, 2023

US military veterans freed, returned to Alabama after capture in Ukraine

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama — Two U.S. Navy veterans who went missing three months ago arrived in Alabama Saturday, greeted by hugs, cheers and tears of joy at the state’s main airport.

Alex Drueke, 40, and Andy Huynh, 27, went missing on June 9 in the Kharkiv region of northeastern Ukraine, near the Russian border. The Alabama resident was released as part of a prisoner exchange. The couple traveled to Ukraine alone and connected through the country where they often lived.

“It’s you!” a family member shouted as the couple appeared on the escalator at Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport in Birmingham, one of Alabama’s largest cities.

Smiling but exhausted, the pair were wrapped in a prolonged emotional hug from their families after the transfer. They were then taken to a ready car.

Earlier: Russian TV shows film of two U.S. veterinarians arrested in Ukraine

“Surrealism. Still, I have a chill. I’ve been fantasizing about that day. I’ve been not just hoping, I’ve been believing in that day. But I think at most two or three years from now,” Drucker’s aunt Diana said. Xiao said.

“Some prisoners of war were held for months or even years. Some were unjustly held for years, and it was unimaginable to me that this happened in three months,” she added. “While it feels unimaginable that I live here, I don’t need to personally ignore all the Ukrainians who are still in custody.”

The families of the two men introduced their launch on Wednesday. The boys were among 10 prisoners pushed out by Russia-backed separatists in a Saudi Arabia-brokered prisoner swap. Five other British nationals and others from Morocco, Sweden and Croatia were launched, the Saudi embassy said.

Other news: Russians rush to take flight as part of reservists called up

Darla Black’s daughter, who is engaged to Huynh, said she thought, “Here he is. He’s there,” Huynh came here.

“I need to get my hands on him to really think about that. I’m just so grateful. We bought our wonder,” Black said.

The boys arrived at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport on Friday.

Other news: American’s family says he was released by Taliban

“We stayed up late to spend time with our families and we will be in touch with the media as soon as possible,” Drucker said with Huang shortly after arriving in New York. “It’s nice to be at home.”

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