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Biden says he’s been briefed on Americans reported missing in Ukraine

President Biden said Friday he has been briefed on the Americans reportedly missing in Ukraine and strongly discouraged others from traveling to the country to help fight the Russian invasion.

“I have been briefed. We don’t know where they are,” Biden told reporters at the White House before departing for Rehoboth, Del.  

“I want to reiterate: Americans should not be going to Ukraine now,” Biden said. “They should not be going to Ukraine.”  

Families of two U.S. veterans, Alex Drueke and Andy Tai Ngoc Huynh, have told media outlets in recent days that they had gone missing in Ukraine after traveling there to fight the Russians. The families have expressed concerns that the two Americans may have been captured by Russian forces.  

State Department spokesperson Ned Price told reporters Thursday that the Biden administration is aware of a third American possibly missing in Ukraine. CNN subsequently identified that American as Grady Kurpasi, a veteran of the U.S. Marines, citing his wife.

Price said Thursday that the U.S. government had not confirmed the reports of the missing Americans but said officials were closely monitoring the situation. The State Department has been in contact with the individuals’ families, the Ukrainian government and the Red Cross, Price said.  

The U.S. had not spoken to Russia about their cases as of Thursday, Price said, and does not have reason to believe the individuals are being held by the Russians.  

The White House and State Department have sought to dissuade Americans from traveling to Ukraine to aid the Ukrainians in their fight since Russia invaded the country at the end of February.  

“There are many individuals in this country who are well-intentioned and who want to do everything they can to help the people of Ukraine,” Price said Thursday. “Of course, we all understand that. There are avenues and ways to channel that energy, to channel those efforts in ways that are constructive and ultimately helpful for the people of Ukraine, and you can find many of those on our website.”  

Thousands of foreign fighters are believed to have joined the war effort in Ukraine, but it’s unclear how many Americans have traveled to the country.  



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