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“'We got our miracle” freed Americans back in Alabama

Russia Ukraine Missing Americans
Kim Chandler/AP
Andy Huynh, left, and Alex Drueke, right, are seen arriving at Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport in Birmingham, Ala., Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022. The U.S. military veterans disappeared three months ago while fighting Russia with Ukrainian forces. They were released earlier this week by Russian-backed separatists as part of a prisoner exchange. (AP Photo/Kim Chandler)

Two U.S. military veterans who disappeared three months ago while fighting with Ukrainian forces have arrived in their home state of Alabama. The men were greeted over the weekend by hugs and cheers at the airport in Birmingham. Alex Drueke, and Andy Huynh had gone missing in early June in northeastern Ukraine near the Russian border. The Alabama residents were released by Russian-backed separatists as part of a recent prisoner exchange mediated by Saudi Arabia. Also freed were five British nationals and three others — from Morocco, Sweden and Croatia. Smiling but looking tired, the two were pulled into long emotional hugs by family members before being taken to a waiting car.

Pat Duggins is news director for Alabama Public Radio.
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