US ‘alarmed’ captured Americans could face death penalty – Reuters


White House says it’s ‘still trying to find out more’ about two fighters captured in Donbass

The United States fears that two American fighters captured in Ukraine could face the death penalty, a spokesman for the National Security Council (NSC) said on Tuesday. « appalling » that Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov would even suggest such a possibility.

“It is appalling that an official in Russia is even proposing the death penalty for two American citizens who were in Ukraine. And we’re going to keep trying to learn what we can about it, » NSC spokesman John Kirby told reporters at the White House.

Alexander John-Robert Drueke and Andy Tai Ngoc Huynh were fighting for the kyiv government in the region north of Kharkov. They were reported missing on June 9, the same day a court in Donetsk convicted two Britons and a Moroccan of being mercenaries and sentenced them to death. Last Friday, Drueke and Huynh were shown alive and in a detention center in Donetsk, raising fears they could meet the same fate.

Asked about them by NBC News on Monday, Peskov called Drueke and Huynh « soldiers of fortune » who participated in « Illegal Activities » and fired on the Russian troops, and said their fate would be « depends on investigation » and the trial that followed.

« Either way, it’s equally alarming, that they actually mean what they’re saying here and that could be a result, that they could impose the death penalty on two Americans in Ukraine, » he said. -he adds. Kirby said Tuesday. « Or that they just think it’s a responsible thing for a great power to talk about doing this as a way of signaling to the President of the United States and the American people. »

Drueke, 39, and Huynh, 27, are both from the state of Alabama. In an interview with RT, they said they were abandoned by Ukrainian soldiers and ended up surrendering to a Russian patrol.

Their families hope it will be the distinction that saves them the same fate as two British nationals and a Moroccan man captured by Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) forces near Mariupol in May. Aiden Aslin, Shaun Pinner and Saadun Ibrahim were found guilty by a court in Donetsk earlier this month and sentenced to death – although the executions have yet to take place, pending appeal.

Russia does not apply the death penalty, unlike the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. All three agree that foreign volunteers fighting for Ukraine are mercenaries and therefore illegal combatants who are not protected by the Geneva Conventions.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov made this clear in an interview last week, when the BBC asked about the two Britons who « in the eyes of the West » Moscow was responsible.

“I’m not at all interested in the ‘eyes of the West’. I am only interested in international law, according to which mercenaries are not combatants”, Lavrov answered. « So what’s in your eyes doesn’t matter. »

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