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June 22, 2022 Press Release


Tuscaloosa, Alabama

June 22, 2022

Contact: Dianna Shaw, 205-764-3434,

Captured American’s Family Responds to Statements, Calls for “Day of Action”

The U.S. State Department has confirmed to Lois (“Bunny”) Drueke that the U.S. Embassy in Russia, which is operating on a limited basis, has pressed the Kremlin to reveal the whereabouts of her son Alex Drueke and Andy Huynh, two American volunteers with the Ukrainian military taken captive by pro-Russian forces.

Additionally, in a June 21, 2022 press conference, Ned Price, State Department spokesperson, said, “We are pursuing every channel, every opportunity we have, to learn more and to support their families.”

Price also stated that the international community has “the full expectation that anyone who is in [Russian] custody or the custody of proxy forces who fall under Russian control, their health, their safety, their well-being is the responsibility of the Russian Federation.”

Also on June 21, a spokesperson for the Russian government acknowledged publicly that Drueke and Huynh are being held but declined to identify who exactly is holding them. He falsely labeled the two Americans as “mercenaries”.

“This is absolutely untrue,” said Drueke’s mother Lois (“Bunny”) Drueke. “Alex is a volunteer who was training Ukrainian forces, not a mercenary. Sometimes his only meal was what a Ukrainian villager could share from their own table,” Mrs. Drueke said. “Alex and Andy are Prisoners of War and must be afforded protections and humane treatment accordingly,” she said.

“I was actually somewhat encouraged when the Russian government spokesperson made those ridiculous statements,” said Dianna Shaw, Drueke’s aunt, “because it told me that Russia is aware the world is watching. For them to publicly acknowledge the men are being held makes it the Russian Federation’s responsibility to ensure Alex and Andy are treated humanely as required by the Geneva Conventions and their additional protocols.”

“Alex turns 40 this week,” Mrs. Drueke said. “To commemorate his birthday, we’re asking Americans to join us in a Day of Action.” The Drueke family asks that on Friday, June 24 people say a prayer for Alex’s and Andy’s safety, and then call Senator Richard Shelby’s office at (202) 224-5744 and thank him for pledging to do everything possible to get the men released.

“And then call your own senators and representatives, no matter where you live, and ask them to take up the cause as well,” added Mrs. Shaw.

Drueke left the U.S. in mid-April, entering Poland legally and making contact with Ukrainian forces from there to volunteer. He moved from unit to unit, helping train Ukrainian soldiers in using the equipment they were receiving from other nations.

Mrs. Drueke last spoke with him by telephone on June 5. She received a text from Drueke on June 8 when he informed her he would be “going dark for almost all of tomorrow. Possibly the next day too.” She received a phone call from another member of the unit in the early hours of Monday, June 13 to inform her the unit had come under fire and scattered, and that Drueke and Huynh were as of yet unaccounted for. Two days later, photos and videos began surfacing on Ukrainian and Russian social media showing the two men in captivity.