Kremlin press secretary says Geneva Conventions won’t apply to two Americans who feared capture in Ukraine
Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov said on Monday that the Geneva Conventions – a series of agreements on, among other things, international standards for the treatment of people captured during war – would not apply to the two Americans.by Russian or pro-Russian forces in Ukraine in recent weeks. Peskov’s comments come days after Russian media appearing to show the two men, Alexander Drueke, 39, and Andy Huynh, 27.
Peskov told NBC News’ Keir Simmons that he viewed the two men as “soldiers of fortune” who were not conscripted into the Ukrainian military – which means, he said, Russia doesn’t don’t think they are protected by the Geneva Conventions. Asked if Russia knew for sure that the two men were not members of the Ukrainian military, Peskov said the matter would be “investigated in due course”.
He also alleged that the two men, due to their supposed status as mercenaries, were involved in “illegal activities”, including shooting and shelling members of the Russian military.
“They should be held accountable for the crimes they committed,” he said.
concernabout the fate of Huynh, who served in the Marines, and Drueke, an Iraq War veteran, last week. Fellow soldiers told Britain’s The Telegraph newspaper that the couple had volunteered with a Ukrainian army foreign fighter unit when they went missing.
Earlier in June, a Moroccan fighter and two British fighters who had been capturedby firing squad for having fought alongside Ukrainian forces. The three men were tried and convicted by a separatist, Russian-backed court in Donetsk, one of Ukraine’s two main Donbass regions.
The US State Department said last week it was also looking into reports of a third American missing in Ukraine. A family friend identified the person as retired Navy Captain Grady Kurpasi, a 20-year veteran of the US Army.
Peskov in his interview with Simmons also talked about Brittney Griner, the American WNBA star who wasin February for allegedly carrying vape cartridges containing cannabis-derived oil. Griner’s period in pretrial detention has since been .
When Simmons said the US government now views Griner’s detention as a hostage situation, Peskov said he would “strongly disagree” with that characterization.
“We can’t take her hostage,” he said. “Why should we call her a hostage? She broke Russian law, and now she’s being prosecuted. It’s not about being a hostage.”
Chris Livesay contributed reporting.