The Kremlin on Monday said that two US military veterans captured in Ukraine could face death, NBC News reports.
Americans Alexander Drueke, 39, and Andy Huynh, 27, were reported missing last week after being captured in Ukraine.
They traveled to the country to help the military fight Russia’s invasion, though a Ukrainian official said he could not “confirm or deny” that the two men were part of the foreign legion of fighters.
Huynh fiancée said that he talked about going to fight in the country but Drueke’s mother said that her son was not there to fight but rather went in more of an advisory capacity.
Russian state-owned TV network RT reported that the two vets were being held by Russian-backed separatists.
Possible death penalty:
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was asked on Monday whether the two vets would encounter the “same fate” as two British citizens and a Moroccan citizen who were sentenced to death by Russian-backed separatists earlier this month.
“It depends on the investigation,” Peskov said. “Those guys on the battlefield were firing at our military guys. They were endangering their lives. There will be a court, and there will be a court decision.”
Peskov argued that since they are “not the Ukrainian army,” they “are not subject to the Geneva Conventions.”
Two Americans killed:
At least two Americans have been killed fighting in Ukraine.
The State Department on Monday confirmed the death of New Yorker Stephen Zabielski, 52, who died in May while fighting the war.
The death came just weeks after the death of Marine veteran Wily Joseph Cancel, who died while fighting alongside Ukrainian forces.
"We once again reiterate U.S. citizens should not travel to Ukraine due to the active armed conflict and the singling out of U.S. citizens in Ukraine by Russian government security officials," a State Department spokesperson said. "And that U.S. citizens in Ukraine should depart immediately if it is safe to do so using any commercial or other privately available ground transportation options.”