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US POWs say they are ‘very happy’ to be back home

Alexander John-Robert Drueke, one of the Americans freed in a prisoner exchange between Ukraine and Russia, said he was “very happy” to be home after landing at Birmingham International Airport in Alabama. .

Drueke and US comrade Andy Tai Ngoc Huynh were released on Wednesday (21) and returned to the US on Friday (23) after being captured by Russia while fighting in Ukraine.

As they reunited with family and friends, Drueke hugged his aunt, Dianna Shaw, while Huynh hugged his fiancée’s mother, Darla Black. Drueke, 39, is from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and Huynh, 27, is from Hartselle, Alabama.

Asked if he was happy to be back, Drueke replied: “I’m very happy, thank you.”

Shaw also said that Huynh wanted “a specific fast food” – McDonald’s – on his return, and he had a meal this morning in Atlanta. “He was very, very happy,” she added with a laugh.


The two men initially disappeared in June while fighting Russian forces with Ukraine. His pro-Russian captors, the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic, have ruled a breakaway part of Ukraine’s Donetsk region since 2014.

Even after being captured, their families say the men do not regret going to fight the Ukrainians.

Five British nationals who were held by Russian-backed forces for months were also released as part of the prisoner exchange, which was brokered by Saudi Arabia. And three Moroccan, Swedish and Croatian prisoners were released in the exchange, the Saudi Foreign Ministry said.

Source: CNN Brasil

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