WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The State Department is working to verify a photo depicting two US men allegedly captured as combatants in Ukraine, the mother of one of the men said during an interview.
"They’re working hard to verify [the photo]. We’re very hopeful," Bunny Drueke told CNN on Thursday when asked about the photo being circulated. "I have seen it."
Earlier in the day, State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said the US has been in contact with the families of the two men reported missing in Ukraine. However, the United States has not yet discussed the matter with the Russian government, Price also said.
Drueke’s son John-Robert Drueke is shown in the photo alongside Andy Huynh, both US veterans who were fighting alongside Ukrainian forces. The men are shown sitting in military clothing with their hands behind their backs.
Drueke in the interview also said that she does not want to get her hopes up about the photo’s veracity given the prevalence of photoshop technology.
"I’m hopeful that it’s an actual photo of them, that they are alive. Whoever is in the photo doesn’t look particularly hurt. The one that’s supposed to be my son looks rather angry, and that sounds like my son," Drueke said.
On Wednesday, media reported that Drueke, 39, and Huynh, 27, were captured by Russian forces near the city of Kharkiv. The reports said the former is a US Army veteran and the latter a US Marine Corps veteran.
Drueke felt he was too old to fight but had useful experience training soldiers, and decided to volunteer to teach Ukrainians how to use equipment, his mother said. He did two tours of duty in Iraq while in the US military, she added.