Russia is threatening to execute the two Americans who were fighting alongside Ukrainian forces north of Kharkiv when they went missing. That threat comes after Russia has already sentenced a Moroccan citizen and two British citizens to death for being mercenaries.
All three had joined the Ukrainian military prior to the February 24 Russian invasion, and the Pentagon says the two U.S. mercenaries are covered by the Geneva Convention because they were fighting alongside Ukrainian armed forces.
The two men have been identified as Alexander John-Robert Drueke, 39, and Andy Tai Huyn, 27. Both men are from Alabama.
According to a Reuters article, both men could be executed under the statutory guidelines of Ukraine’s breakaway regions that are puppet regimes of Moscow.
Bob Maginnis, a senior fellow for national security at the Family Research Council, says he’s not surprised to see American mercenaries on the battlefield. Many such fighters have a special-ops background and are adventurous, he says, so they are often hired to bring that military expertise to a fight.
“Russians use mercenaries themselves,” he says, “to fight not only in Ukraine but in Syria and places in Africa and elsewhere."
Regarding the two U.S. mercenaries, Maginnis says they could be used as political pawns if they were carrying a U.S. passport with them when captured.
“And, of course, they could be accused of being soldiers for the U.S. government, which I think is far more problematic,” he observes. “Not a true statement but very problematic for the U.S. government."