Russia: The Geneva Conventions do not apply to Americans captured in Ukraine

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Two Americans who fought for Ukraine before being captured by Russia will not receive the protection afforded to prisoners of war under the Geneva Conventions, a Kremlin chief spokesman said Monday.

Alexander J. Drucke and Andy Tai Huin are “involved in the shooting and shelling” of Russian troops and “should be held accountable for the crimes they have committed,” Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesman, said in an interview Monday. NBC News.

The Geneva Conventions protect prisoners of war from torture, summary execution and prosecution for war battles. But Peskov said the Americans “are not the Ukrainian army” and “are not subject to the Geneva Conventions.”

Responding to Peskov, the State Department said in a statement: “We call on the Russian government – as well as its plenipotentiaries – to abide by their international obligations in their treatment of anyone, including those captured in Ukraine.

Peskov accused 39-year-old Drucke and 27-year-old Huyn – both Alabama military veterans – of being “lucky soldiers” or mercenaries, and said Russian or Russian-coordinated authorities would investigate their cases. Although Peskov told NBC that their fate “depends on the investigation”, he also said that Drucke and Huin would face “the same fate” as two British citizens and a Moroccan sentenced to death earlier this month by Kremlin-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine.

“These guys on the battlefield were shooting at our military. They were threatening their lives, “Peskov said. “There will be a court and there will be a court decision.

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Prior to his capture, Drucke told relatives he was training Ukrainian troops on how to use American weapons. “He went there not to fight, but to train,” said his mother, Lois Drucke The Washington Post.

Huynh volunteered to fight alongside Ukrainian troops, according to Joy Blackwho introduced herself as Huyn’s fiancĂ©e.

On June 8, both men told relatives they would be without communication for several days as they completed a mission. Family members later told The Post the couple disappeared near the Russian border.

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Drucke, who previously served in the army reserve and was sent to the Middle East, suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder after returning home, but hopes to find meaning in fighting in Ukraine, his mother said.

Huynh served in the Marine Corps for four years, according to service officials.

It is unclear how many Americans have signed up to fight for Ukraine. Shortly after the conflict began in late February, Ukrainian authorities said about 4,000 had expressed interest in doing so.

At least two Americans were killed in the fighting: a Marine veteran Willie Joseph Cancel22, from Tennessee and Stephen D. Zabilski52, from Florida.

Dan Lamot contributed to this report.

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