President Biden says he has been briefed on the two Americans believed to be missing in Ukraine and stressed that people should not travel to the war-ravaged country to fight Russian troops.
“I have been briefed. We don’t know where they are,” Mr. Biden told reporters Friday. “I want to reiterate: Americans should not be going to Ukraine now. They should not be going to Ukraine.”
Alexander John-Robert Drueke, 39 of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and Andy Tai Ngoc Huynh, 27, from Huntsville, Alabama, were fighting alongside Ukrainian forces near Kharkiv and have been missing for nearly a week.
Their family members say they fear the pair may have been captured by Russian forces. The two men went missing during fighting on June 9, near the town Izbytske, according to media reports.
State Department spokesperson Ned Price said Thursday that it was aware of reports that a third American who traveled to Ukraine to fight against Russia is also missing.
“There are reports of one additional American whose whereabouts are unknown. I can’t speak to the specifics of that case. Unfortunately we don’t know the full details of that case,” Mr. Price said.
That American is believed to be Grady Kurpasi, a U.S. Marine veteran, his wife told CNN.
Biden administration officials have repeatedly urged Americans not to travel to Ukraine to fight Russian invaders.
White House National Security Council Coordinator for strategic communications underscored that point at a White House press briefing this week.
“I do think, however, that this is an important point in time to remind that we discourage Americans from going to Ukraine and fighting in Ukraine,” he said. “It is a war zone. It is — its combat. And if you feel passionate about supporting Ukraine, there’s any number of other ways to do that that are safer and just effective.”
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