Jun 17, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Biden says U.S. does not know where Americans missing in Ukraine are

President Biden speaking to reporters outside of the White House on June 17. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Biden said Friday that the U.S. does not know where at least three missing Americans are in Ukraine, and stressed that other Americans should not travel to the country during Russia's ongoing, unprovoked invasion.

Driving the news: The Department of State confirmed Thursday that at least three Americans who traveled to Ukraine to assist the country's military effort against Russia have gone missing.

  • The families of Andy Tai Ngoc Huynh, 27, and Alexander Drueke, 39, said Wednesday that the two U.S. veterans from Alabama had gone missing in Ukraine.
  • State Department spokesperson Ned Price said at a briefing yesterday that there were "reports of one additional American whose whereabouts are unknown" but that the department could not provide any additional information on the person.

What they're saying: "I have been briefed. We don't know where they are," Biden said Friday outside of the White House.

  • "I want to reiterate, Americans should not be going to Ukraine now. I'll say it again, Americans should not be going to Ukraine now," he added.

The big picture: Former U.S. Marine Willy Joseph Cancel became what's believed to be the first U.S. citizen to die while fighting in Ukraine after he was killed in April.

  • A court in the self-proclaimed and Russian-backed Donetsk People's Republic sentenced two British men and one Moroccan man to death for fighting on behalf of Ukraine earlier this month, even though they were sworn members of Ukraine's military.
  • The Donetsk People's Republic claimed they were mercenaries and not prisoners of war, meaning they are not protected by the Geneva Conventions and could be prosecuted for taking part in hostilities.

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