Saturday, June 25, 2022

Russia says it does not know location of captured US ‘mercenaries’

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The Kremlin said on Tuesday it did not know the location of two Americans captured while fighting in eastern Ukraine, but that they were mercenaries and could be sentenced to death in Russian-backed breakaway territories.

Americans Alexander Drueke, 39, and Andy Huynh, 27, went missing this month while fighting near Kharkiv. Russian state media later showed video interviews with the pair, saying they had been captured by Russian-backed forces. read more

Citing an unidentified source, the Interfax news agency reported that the men were in the separatist self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) in eastern Ukraine.

Britons Shaun Pinner and Aiden Aslin and Moroccan citizen Brahim Saadoun were sentenced to death by a DPR court this month after being captured fighting with the Ukrainian army. read more

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said in a call with reporters that Moscow could not rule out that the two captured men, both from Alabama, would also be sentenced to death if put on trial in a separatist territory.

Though Russia does not carry out the death penalty, the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, whose independence is recognised only by Moscow, have it on their statute books.

“We are talking about mercenaries who threatened the lives of our service personnel. And not only ours, but also the service personnel of the DPR and LPR.”

The Kremlin says that as “mercenaries”, the men are not protected by the Geneva Conventions, which outline how prisoners of war should be treated.

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