Mother of captured American soldier in Ukraine says part of recent conversation with son appeared ‘scripted’
- Alexander Drueke, 40, and Andy Huynh, 27, both of Alabama, were captured by Russian forces on June 11
- Drueke’s mother Lois ‘Bunny’ was able to speak to her son on the phone Tuesday night and said parts of the conversation seemed ‘scripted’ by Russians
- ‘I could tell when he was telling me something scripted. And the other things he was saying was just the regular conversation, just ordinary conversations’
- She said the people holding him were anxious to begin negotiations and that he had food, water, and bedding
- Huynh’s family has not been able to speak to him. Drueke told his mother he has not seen the other soldier in several days
- Bunny said she hopes the global attention on her son and his fellow soldier will help keep them safe
The mother of one of two American soldiers captured by Russian forces says parts of a recent conversation with her son appeared ‘scripted.’
Alexander Drueke, 40, and Andy Huynh, 27, both of Alabama, were captured by Russian forces on June 11 when they didn’t return to a meeting spot after their group came under heavy fire in the Kharkiv region of northeastern Ukraine near the Russian border.
Drueke’s mother, Lois ‘Bunny’ Drueke, of Tuscaloosa, Alabama spoke to her son on the phone Tuesday night for 10 minutes. Bunny said she believes parts of the conversation did not seem to be coming directly from him.
‘It was obvious that there were two things going on,’ she told Good Morning America (GMA). ‘One, I could tell when he was telling me something scripted. And the other things he was saying was just the regular conversation, just ordinary conversations that mothers really treasure.’
Bunny (pictured with her son at an unknown time) said the other parts of the phone conversation were ‘just the regular conversation, just ordinary conversations that mothers really treasure’
The two soldiers have appeared in various videos distributed by Russia since their capture. Previously, the men have appeared frightened, but look calmer in the latest video.
Drueke and Huynh traveled separately to help Ukraine, but became friends there in part because of their shared Alabama background, relatives have said.
The U.S. State Department said it was looking into reports that Russian or Russian-backed separatist forces in Ukraine had captured at least two American citizens. If confirmed, they would be the first Americans fighting for Ukraine known to have been captured since the war began February 24.
Alexander Drueke, 40, (pictured in a previous hostage video) and Andy Huynh, 27, both of Alabama, were captured by Russian forces on June 11 when they didn’t return to a meeting spot after their group came under heavy fire in the Kharkiv region of northeastern Ukraine near the Russian border
The two traveled separately to help Ukraine and became buddies there in part because of their shared Alabama background, relatives have said (pictured: Huynh, in a previous hostage video)
According to Bunny, her son said he has been provided food, water and bedding, and his captors are anxious to begin negotiations, the Associated Press reported.
‘He sounded tired and stressed, and he was clearly reciting some things he had been made to practice or read, but it was wonderful to hear his voice and know he’s alive and alright,’ she said.
Drueke said he hadn’t been in contact with Huynh for several days, according to his mother. The United States has said both men should be protected as prisoners of war under the Geneva Conventions.
Huynh’s family has not been able to speak with him, but said they were happy for the Drueke family.
‘We are still hoping to get a similar communication from Andy,’ Huyhn’s fiancée, Joy Black told the Associated Press.
Black told GMA that she takes the videos ‘as an encouraging sign to stay positive’ as she knows her fiancé is still alive.
Drueke’s mother Lois ‘Bunny’ Drueke (left) said she thought parts of her son’s phone conversation on Tuesday were ‘scripted.’ Huyhn’s fiancée Joy Black (right) said she has not had any contact with her loved one, but the videos ‘encouraged’ her to stay positive
‘It’s hard to describe the feeling exactly, but I was just really glad to see him and hear him. It was very encouraging to at least get to see more recent video of him,’ she told GMA.
Previously, Drueke, a US Army veteran, and Huynh, a former US Marine, were warned by the Kremlin they faced possible execution for being what Putin’s government branded ‘soldiers of fortune.’
The Kremlin said the men were not eligible for the rights afforded to prisoners of war captured by rivals, because they hadn’t enlisted for the foreign army they were fighting with.
Drueke’s mother said earlier this week that she hopes global attention on the two prisoners – including from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky – will keep them safe.
‘I want to thank President Zelensky for taking their situation seriously,’ she said.
Last week, Russia’s US Ambassador declared its embassy has received no communications from the White House regarding two Americans being held captive for fighting in Ukraine.
Anatoly Antonov, the head of the diplomatic mission, made the assertion Tuesday while speaking to journalists from the state-owned Russian News Agency (TASS).
The statement from the ambassador contradicted claims the U.S. State Department made earlier in the day, that officials had been in talks with the Kremlin about the imprisoned Americans.
Drueke, a US Army veteran, and Huynh (pictured), a former US Marine, were warned by the Kremlin they faced possible execution for being what Putin’s government branded ‘soldiers of fortune’
Bunny hopes the global attention on her son (pictured) and Huynh will keep them safe
The Pentagon, meanwhile, continues to insist that it is doing ‘everything’ possible to bring Drueke and Huynh home safely.
Antonov, however, says otherwise – according to state media.
‘There were no requests to the embassy. I do not confirm receiving a request of this kind from the US side,’ the ambassador was quoted as saying by TASS.
‘The embassy did not contact us.’
Earlier in the day, State Department spokesman Ned Price said the White House had been ‘in touch’ with Moscow about the captives.
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