Thanks to Vladimir Putin’s unrelenting suggestion that he would use nuclear weapons to deter any sort of international interference against his invasion of Ukraine, the sovereign, neighboring nation has not been able to procure any personnel to assist in their defense. Those nations looking to support Ukraine’s longstanding independence have been only able to do so by providing equipment and ammunition.
But there are some citizens of the world who would seek to directly help Ukraine, and they’ve done so on a volunteer basis. This includes several American citizens, two of which have been recently freed from Russian captivity.
Andy Huynh, 27, and Alexander Drueke, 39, who volunteered in the Ukrainian army, entered Ukraine in early April. They were taken as prisoners in June during a firefight in the village of Izbytske and held captive in the Donbas region.Advertisement - story continues below
In September, they were released to the U.S. embassy in Saudi Arabia as part of a prisoner exchange.
The soldiers from Alabama, who spent 105 days in Russian captivity, told ABC News they were held in a “black site,” where the had to endure daily torture. According to the pair, they lived on dirty water and spoiled bread and were interrogated, beaten, deprived of sleep and forced to stand or sit on their knees while blindfolded for hours.
But it gets much, much worse.
During their captivity, Huynh and Drueke were also forced to make propaganda videos and partake in interviews, wherein they were forced to praise Russia. If they had not followed the script, they were to be raped or killed.Advertisement - story continues below
Drueke, 40, retired from the U.S. Army after 12 years. He was chosen as the duo’s spokesperson and was allowed to make calls to his family in Tuscaloosa under duress. According to Drueke, the captors had cracked four of his ribs.
Their treatment was so poor, in fact, that Huynh says he “prayed for death” to relieve him.
Torture has been a staple of the Russian invasion over the course of the last 8 months, with evidence of such barbarism being found in civilian and military mass graves alike.