Two former U.S. servicemen were captured last week in the fighting outside of Kharkiv, according to a report.
Alexander Drueke, 39, and Andy Huynh, 27 — both from Alabama — were taken prisoner during a fierce fight with Russian armor during the ongoing Ukrainian counterattacks in the nation’s northeast, the British newspaper the Telegraph reported.
The Americans were captured after their 10-man squad ran into a much larger Russian force in a village outside Kharkiv, the newspaper said, citing an unnamed source who fought with the pair in a regular Ukrainian military unit.
“We were out on a mission and the whole thing went absolutely crazy, with bad intel,” the source said. “We were told the town was clear when it turned out the Russians were already assaulting it.
“They came down the road with two T72 tanks and multiple BMP3s (armored personnel carriers) and about 100 infantry,” the source added.
Drueke and Huynh apparently got at least one shot off at a Russian vehicle, destroying it with a rocket-propelled grenade before their capture.
Drueke, a veteran of the US Army, served in Iraq. His mother told the Telegraph that he had suffered from PTSD and was struggling to hold down a job before going to Ukraine.
“The U.S. Embassy have assured me that they are doing everything they can to find him and that they are searching for him alive, not dead,” Lois Drueke said. “I am doing my best not to fall apart, I am going to stay strong. I am very hopeful that they will keep him to exchange for Russian POWs.”
Huynh, a former Marine, left to fight in Ukraine in April, according to Alabama ABC affiliate WAAY.
The outlet reported that Huynh put up $6,000 of his own money to finance the trip.
“I know there’s a potential of me dying,” he said at the time. “I’m willing to get my life or what I believe is right. For what I’ve been taught is right, through really my eyes, Marine Corps, through God, and really just what is right.”
Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, has been the locus of a successful Ukrainian counterattack in the past several weeks.
Ukrainian forces have on at least one occasion pushed Russian forces back to the border outside Kharkiv, putting pressure on Russian supply lines into the Donbas.
A version of this report appears on NYPost.com