Russia is expected to execute two former members of the US Army who volunteered to fight in the Ukraine war.
However, the White House is clueless, still assessing how to get the ex-servicemen back.
Russia Can Execute Two American Soldiers
Speaking to NBC, Russian spokesman Dmitry Peskov noted both the American citizens could face a criminal trial, adding he “can’t rule out” capital punishment for them.
Peskov also stated Russia has “no right to interfere” in their cases since the authority to execute them resides with the courts.
Andy Huynh, 27, and Alexander Drueke, 39, were allegedly captured in the pro-Russia region of Ukraine, Donetsk People’s Republic.
Although Russia considers this territory as an independent country, the international community largely recognizes it as part of Ukraine.
CBS: Russia mouthpiece threatens execution for the 2 captured Americans, says they are mere soldiers of fortune w/o the protections of the Geneva Conventions. Tole ya back in February this was gonna happen. But everyone just KNEW I was wrong.
— LiberalNavySeal1 (@LeftyNavySeal) June 20, 2022
When they were captured, Russia released a video interview. A pro-Russia interrogator informed Huynh he was likely to face the death penalty under the laws of the Donetsk region.
Huynh responded to the interviewer, probably under duress, that he was ready to face the consequences of his actions in Ukraine.
Previously, Peskov also stated none of the individuals can claim immunity under the Geneva convention, as they did not belong to the official army of any country.
Amid all of this, the Biden administration seemed clueless regarding the recovery of the troubled Americans.
White House Reluctant to Step Up For Troubled Americans
In a White House briefing, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby asserted the administration would “continue to try” bringing Americans back.
Kirby mentioned it is “appalling” for a state official of Russia to suggest the death penalty for Americans.
#BREAKING 'Appalling' for Russia to say captured Americans not protected from execution: US pic.twitter.com/nGTratU0c2
— AFP News Agency (@AFP) June 21, 2022
Calling them “soldiers of fortunes,” the Russian official claimed both Americans were attacking the Russian army in Ukraine, so they “should be punished.”
The Ukrainian government announced, in March, that nearly 20,000 people from 52 different countries volunteered to fight Russia. However, currently, it is unclear how many of them still fight within Ukraine.
Meanwhile, Drueke’s mother said her son was acting more like an adviser than a fighter in Ukraine. Similarly, Huynh’s fiancée noted she talked with him regarding the fight when he was about to leave for Ukraine.
Recently, Russian-backed courts also announced death penalties for two British and one Moroccan citizen(s) who volunteered to fight in Ukraine.
However, none of them have been executed as of now; doing so could trigger global backlash against Putin, which can further isolate him during these testing times.
Peskov also denied allegations that US basketball player Brittney Griner is a “hostage” in Russia. He asserted the athlete was caught under the Russian drug laws, so calling her hostage is not a wise approach.
Reportedly, if Russia announces death punishments for detained Americans, it can further strain the relations between the two countries.