TOP STORIES The State Department said that a third American fighter...

The State Department said that a third American fighter jet could disappear in Ukraine


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A third American who traveled to Ukraine to fight the Russian invasion could be missing, the State Department said Thursday, a day after the families of two American veterans who fought in Ukraine said the two men disappeared together because their the platoon had previously come under fire. this month.

A possible third missing person has been identified in recent weeks, State Department spokesman Ned Price said at a briefing. “Unfortunately, we do not know all the details of this case,” he added.

On Wednesday, the families of the two American veterans identified them as Alex Druke and Andy Tai Ngoc Huynh and expressed fear that they might have been captured by Russian forces.

As of Thursday afternoon, the United States had not contacted Russia about the two men, Mr. Price said, confirming previous comments from an official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry, which was reported by Russian state news.

“If we had good reason to believe that these people are in Russian custody, we would prosecute them,” he added, saying State Department officials would turn to Russia if they felt it would be “productive.”

The United States has discussed this issue with its British partners and the International Committee of the Red Cross, Mr. Price said.

The disappearance of the volunteer fighters underscored the potential danger faced by thousands of people from around the world who have traveled to Ukraine to take up arms on behalf of Kyiv. The risk to foreign fighters soared last week after two Britons and a Moroccan were convicted of being mercenaries and terrorists seeking to overthrow the government of the Donetsk People’s Republic and sentenced to death by a court in Russian-occupied eastern Ukraine. .

International human rights experts and British officials say the men can be treated like prisoners of war because they served in the Ukrainian armed forces and are thus protected by the Geneva Conventions. But Maria Zakharova, a Russian foreign policy spokeswoman, said on Friday that Britons on death row are not considered combatants under international law and, as such, are not entitled to prisoner of war status.

If captured, Mr. Druke, Mr. Huynh and a third person who may have gone missing would be the first Americans known to have become prisoners of war during the conflict.

The State Department stressed on Thursday that Russia should treat anyone captured by the Ukrainian military, including foreign volunteers, as prisoners of war who should be given the full protection of the Geneva Conventions.

Asked about the three men sentenced to death last week, Mr. Price reiterated the United States position that “anyone who fights for the Ukrainian armed forces should be treated as a prisoner of war,” whether or not they Moscow prisoners of war.

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