American POW freed from Russia said his captors were ‘idiots’ who had prisoners call an Alabama licensing office for help, report says

Alex Drueke, an American who were released earlier this month as part of a Russian-Ukraine prisoner swap, poses for a portrait on September 29, 2022.William DeShazer for The Washington Post via Getty Images

  • US veteran Alexander Drueke was captured by the Russians last year while fighting for Ukraine.

  • Drueke told The Daily Beast that his captors tortured and beat him, but were “idiots.”

  • He said they made him reach out to the “silliest levels of the US government,” including an Alabama licensing office.

An American prisoner of war who was freed from Russia last year said the men holding him captive were “idiots” who made him call a small licensing business in Alabama to ask for help, The Daily Beast reported.

Alexander Drueke, 39, and Andy Huynh, 27, who were both volunteer fighters in Ukraine, were captured by Russian forces in June after a failed mission in the Kharkiv region.

The men were held in Russian captivity for three months, before being released in a Russia-Ukraine prisoner swap in September last year.

In an interview with The Daily Beast published on Thursday, Drueke described the “pure torture” he had to endure while in Russian captivity, which included regular beatings and being electrocuted by a car battery.

After their Russian captors discovered that he and Huynh were “high-value people”, they made them reach out to the “silliest levels of the [U.S.] government” to ask for help, Drueke said.

“I think one they made Andy call was the head of LLC business licensing for Alabama,” Drueke told The Daily Beast. “And she said, ‘I’m sorry I can’t help you, I’m going to pray for you.'”

The captors were attempting to spread panic in the US about the chance that Drueke and Huynh could be executed.

“Sometimes they were just so smart and I was like ‘Oh man they’re going to kill me.’ And sometimes it was like, this is the most ridiculous thing ever, how is this going to work? You’re idiots,” he added.

Both men were among a big group of fighters who were released in a prisoner exchange brokered by Saudi Arabia in late September.

Drueke said they didn’t know about the exchange, so when they were brought to a Russian airstrip and had to board a plane, they thought they were being tricked.

“All of us were thinking, either we’re moving prisons, we’re being exchanged, or this is mass execution,” he said.

“And then when we got on the plane, we said, ‘Well they’re obviously just going to shoot us out of the air once we take off.’ There’s no way they’re letting us go,” he said. “It wasn’t until we landed in Riyadh that we were like, ‘Huh, we might actually be getting released.'”

Drueke is an Army veteran, who served his first tour in Kuwait and his second in Baghdad.

When Russian President Vladimir Putin launched his full-scale invasion last year, Drueke volunteered to go fight with the Ukrainian army. He became friends with Huynh because they are both from Alabama.

Read the original article on Business Insider


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