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Biden says he was briefed on Americans missing in Ukraine and urges not to travel to the country

In a brief address to reporters as he was away for a weekend on the beach in Delaware, Biden repeatedly said that Americans should not travel to Ukraine during this time.

“We don’t know where they are, but I want to reiterate: Americans should not go to Ukraine now,” Biden said in response to a question from CNN correspondent M.J. Lee at the White House.

On Wednesday, CNN reported that Alexander John-Robert Druke, 39, of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and Andy Tai Ngoc Huynh, 27, of Hartsell, Alabama, had been missing for nearly a week and there were fears they might have been captured by Russian strength, according to their family members and a fellow fighter. Druke and Huynh fought alongside Ukrainian troops north of Kharkov.
CNN reported on Thursday that the third American the State Department identified as missing in Ukraine was U.S. Marine Corps veteran Grady Kurpasi. He served in the US Marine Corps for 20 years, retiring in November 2021. A friend of the Kurpasi family told CNN that Kurpasi had decided to volunteer with Ukrainian forces, but did not initially imagine he would be fighting on the front lines of the war.

State Department spokesman Ned Price said the agency is in contact with the families of the missing Americans, as well as with Ukrainian authorities and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The US State Department on Thursday told the family of one of the Americans who went missing in Ukraine that there was potential evidence that Druke was captured, but was unable to verify the photo at the time, Bunny Druke, Alexander’s mother, told CNN.

Drucke told CNN’s Jake Tapper on The Lead that her son went to Ukraine to train soldiers there to fight against Russia because “he felt that if Putin wasn’t stopped now, he would get bolder with every success, and that in he may end up on American shores.”

On Thursday, a photo of Druke and Hyun in the back of a Russian military truck emerged that appears to confirm they were captured by Russian forces north of Kharkov last week. A Russian blogger posted the photo to Telegram on Thursday, but CNN was unable to independently verify when it was taken.

On Friday, videos appeared on pro-Russian channels and social media showing Druke and Huynh being detained at an undisclosed location. It is not clear who is holding them.

In an undated short video posted on the pro-Russian Telegram channel ZOV Team, a man identifies himself as Dryuke. In a separate video, also undated by the Russian news channel Izvestiya, Huynh says a couple of sentences.

While the men do not appear to be in ill health or rough treatment, both clearly speak of rudeness.

A State Department spokesman told CNN on Friday that they “saw photos and videos of these two US citizens who were reportedly captured by Russian military forces in Ukraine.”

“We are closely monitoring the situation and our heartfelt sympathies go out to their families during this difficult time,” they said.

“We are in contact with the Ukrainian authorities, international…

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