2 Americans released by Russian separatists arrive in NYC

NEW YORK (AP) — Two U.S. military veterans who disappeared three months ago while fighting Russia with Ukrainian forces arrived at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport on Friday after they were killed by Russian-backed separatists as part of a prisoner exchange had been released.

“We look forward to spending time with family and we will be in touch with the media soon,” Alex Drueke said after arriving at the airport with Andy Huynh around noon. “Happy to be home.”

Drueke, 40, and Huynh, 27, went missing on June 9 in the Kharkiv region of northeastern Ukraine near the Russian border. They had traveled to Ukraine alone and bonded because of their common home state.

Their families announced their release Wednesday in a joint statement from Dianna Shaw, an aunt of Drueke.

Saudi Arabia brokered the exchange that granted her release. The Saudi embassy released a statement on Wednesday saying it helped secure the release of 10 prisoners from Morocco, the United States, the United Kingdom, Sweden and Croatia. Shaw confirmed that Drueke and Huynh were part of the group.

Drueke and Huynh flew to New York from Saudi Arabia. Shaw said in an email that Druke’s mother and Huynh’s fiancé would fly to New York later on Friday to meet the men and that all four would then travel to Alabama on Saturday.

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