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Soldier who fought with captured US fighters in Ukraine says he ‘regrets’ bringing them to the war

An American who traveled to Ukraine along with two American veterans now captured by Russian troops has pleaded guilty.

The soldier spoke anonymously to CBS Mornings Monday as Alex Drueke and Andy Huynh were paraded on Russian state television.

“They more or less followed me here. We all agreed there was no leader in the group, but I definitely feel a little guilty, no doubt.

“We should have looked more closely at more humanitarian options or training opportunities.

“If we did that, they wouldn’t be in the situation they’re in,” he said.

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The soldier spoke anonymously to CBS Mornings on Monday as Alex Drueke and Andy Huynh were paraded on Russian state television.

The soldier spoke anonymously to CBS Mornings on Monday as Alex Drueke and Andy Huynh were paraded on Russian state television.

Alexander Drueke, 39

Andy Huynh, 27 years old

Alexander Drueke, 39, left, and Andy Huynh, 27, appeared terrified by images released by Russian troops in which they identified themselves and denounced the war. These men went missing last week after their platoon was ambushed by Russian soldiers in Ukraine

Drueke, 39, and Huynh, 27, were captured during a battle in Kharkov on June 11. They were captured by Russian fighters after they knocked out a tank of grenades.

The anonymous group leader who was with them told CBS he and she knew execution was possible.

“They ended up here a bit by accident. They wanted to do good and this, I think, is the unfortunate result of that.

“We were warned that execution was possible. I’m really glad they didn’t know they had to go through with that,” he said.

Drueke served in the US military in Iraq, but Huynh has never been in active combat.

His Alabama fiancée said he traveled to the region to help after watching the war unfold from a distance.

An undated photo of the two veterans, Drueke (left) and Huynh (right), was uploaded to the Telegram messaging app on Thursday, a day before the video was released.

An undated photo of the two veterans, Drueke (left) and Huynh (right), was uploaded to the Telegram messaging app on Thursday, a day before the video was released.

In the Russian state media video, the men look beaten and tired.

‘My name is Alexander Drueke, I am against war,’ said Drueke. He then repeats in Russian: ‘Ya protiv voyny’, which means I am against war.

‘Ya protiv voyny,’ Huynh repeats after a quick bite.

Another video shows Drueke addressing his mother, Bunny, while promising to return home.

“Mom, I just wanted to let you know that I’m still alive, and I hope to be home as soon as possible,” Drueke said. ‘Love you.’

Kurpasi had arrived in the country on March 7 and was in the capital on March 21.  He was last heard around April 23 and 24.

Kurpasi had arrived in the country on March 7 and was in the capital on March 21. He was last heard around April 23 and 24.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby last week said the US would do “anything” to get the couple home safely.

However, he reiterated that Ukraine “isn’t a place for Americans right now,” and he urged everyone not to go.

The families of the two men are begging the Biden administration to help them.

Bunny Drueke, Alex’s mother, said the latest photos and videos give her hope because her son is still alive.

“Obviously under duress, but thank goodness they’re still alive,” she said in an earlier interview with CBS.

Drueke, who turns 40 this month, is a former US Army staff sergeant who has toured Iraq twice and volunteered with the Ukrainian military.

Huynh, who had been a Marine for four years, had never been in active combat before flying to Ukraine in April to volunteer.

Both American fighters are from Alabama, but it remains unclear whether they knew each other before venturing into the war zone.

The pair were part of a 10-man squad last week defending Kharkov when they were ambushed by Russian soldiers, according to one of their comrades.

Drueke and Huynh disabled a Russian tank with a grenade, but were lost in the fog of backfire. By the time it cleared up, they were gone.

“We were on a mission and the whole thing got out of hand, with bad information.

“We were told the city was free when it turned out that the Russians were already attacking it.

Drueke, in his regalia

Huynh was engaged to get married

Both American fighters are from Alabama and had knocked out a Russian tank with a grenade, but were lost in the fog from backfire

“They came out with two T72 tanks and several BMP3s (armored fighting vehicles) and about 100 infantry. All there was was our crew of ten,” one of their comrades told The Daily Telegraph on Tuesday.

“We suspect they were knocked unconscious by either the anti-tank mine or by the tank firing at them, as subsequent searches found no trace of them, nothing.

“After that, we sent drones and had a Ukrainian search team on the ground, but we found nothing: if they had been hit by the tank shell, there would have been remains of their bodies or equipment at the crime scene,” he said.

Meanwhile, the United States government has announced that it has not yet asked Russia about the whereabouts of Drueke and Huynh.

“As of today, we have not raised this with the Russian Federation… (We) have not seen anything from the Russians indicating that two such individuals are in their custody,” the US State Department spokesman said. State Department, Ned Price, told reporters on Wednesday. †

Also missing is US Marine veteran Ret. Captain Grady Kurpasi, who left for Ukraine in March, according to CNN.

Firefighters work at the site of fire this weekend after Russian shelling in Ukraine's Mykolaiv after the latest bombing

Firefighters work at the site of fire this weekend after Russian shelling in Ukraine’s Mykolaiv after the latest bombing

A couple walks past a building destroyed yesterday by attacks in Chernihiv, Ukraine, fearing an escalation of the conflict

A couple walks past a building destroyed yesterday by attacks in Chernihiv, Ukraine, fearing an escalation of the conflict

Nothing has been heard from him since April. No trace of him has been found, raising fears that he may have been murdered.

He lived in Wilmington, North Carolina, before moving to the Eastern European country.

Captain Kurpasi was not retired from the US military until November 2021, after serving in the US Marine Corps for 20 years.

He decided to volunteer in Ukraine with Ukrainians, but did not see himself fighting on the front lines, a family friend said.

“For him personally, he has skills that he thinks he can give back,” George Heath, a family friend of Kurpasi, told CNN. “He wanted to help the Ukrainian people. He wasn’t really going to fight.’

Kurpasi had arrived in the country on March 7 and was in the capital on March 21. Heath said he was last heard around April 23-24.

In late April, he was assigned to man an observation post near Kherson. It was around that time that he stopped communicating with people in the US

It is believed that the post he worked at came under “firearms” on April 26.

Kurpasi, along with another soldier, went to investigate what was going on and left the observation post before radioing the Ukrainian army to return fire.

“It was the last time anyone heard from him,” Heath explained.

“It wasn’t his goal to be in gunfights and do things like that,” Heath added. “In the end it just happened.”

Kurpasi’s body has not been found.

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