Alex Drueke and Andy Tai Huynh, veterans from Alabama, went to Ukraine to fight the Russian invasion.
The men were captured by Russia and detained for 104 days before their release last month.
In their most in-depth interview, they told The Washington Post they were beaten and interrogated.
Two American veterans who went to fight for Ukraine and were captured by Russian forces described extensive abuse and interrogations during their first in-depth interview since being released last month.
Alex Drueke, 40, and Andy Tai Huynh, 27, told The Washington Post they were subjected to physical and psychological abuse and were often deprived of food or clean water during the 104 days they were detained.
The two men, both military veterans from Alabama, were detained in June while fighting alongside Ukrainian forces in the eastern part of the country. They were among the foreigners who had traveled to Ukraine to help fight off the Russian invasion and were the first Americans reported to have been captured. Reuters reported that after their detention the men were displayed on Russian state media where they claimed, apparently under coercion, to have changed their minds about the war.
On September 21, Drueke and Huynh were part of a group of 10 prisoners of war released by Russia as part of a prisoner exchange with Ukraine.
The pair told The Post they had one day of combat on June 9, during their first mission, before being detained. They said they were “abandoned” after the Ukrainian task force they were with was attacked. They tried getting back to Kharkiv on their own before they were captured. They were brought to Russia and held at several sites and prisons.
They said they each lost 30 pounds while in captivity. Photos from The Post showed the men’s wrists with visible scars they said they received while detained.
When Drueke and Huynh were first captured, family members said they went to fight because they wanted to help resist the invasion. The pair told The Post that despite what happened to them, they did not regret going. Now the pair are focused on raising awareness about another detained American veteran, Suedi Murekezi, who was not released, and on Ukraine’s military needs.
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