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Family of missing veteran speaks out

Russia Ukraine
Alexei Alexandrov/AP
Smoke rises from the gutted remains of a vehicle and a house, background, following shelling in Donetsk, on the territory which is under the Government of the Donetsk People's Republic control, eastern Ukraine, Friday, June 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Alexei Alexandrov)

The family of a Tuscaloosa man reportedly captured in Ukraine while fighting with Kyiv’s military is speaking out.

Alex Drueke is allegedly in Russian custody after volunteering in a squadron of foreign fighters alongside the Ukrainian army.

Videos of both Drueke and missing Alabama solider Andy Huynh have circulated on Russian state television. The State Department is working to authenticate the videos.

Dianna Shaw is Drueke’s aunt. She said he volunteered to help Ukraine soldiers learn how to use weapons in the war against Russia.

“He’s very patriotic. He knew that President Biden was calling for Americans not go, and that was a struggle for him,” said Shaw. “But he felt so compelled with the skills he had, knowing that’s exactly what they needed in their training. As a natural leader, he felt like he had no other choice.”

Shaw has also asked for the public to help bring the men back home.

“The most important thing that people can do for us is to contact their senators and representatives and ask them to stay the course,” said Shaw. “To keep doing all they can to get these men released. It’s not just Alex. It’s also Andy Huynh. He’s from North Alabama.”

Drueke and Huynh are believed to be the first Americans captured by Russian forces since the war began on February 24.

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