US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday welcomed the prisoner swap between Ukraine and Russia that led to the release of 10 people, including two Americans.
“The United States appreciates Ukraine, including all POWs, regardless of nationality, in the negotiations, and we look forward to reuniting these American citizens with their families,” Blinken said in a statement.
He also thanked Saudi Arabia for leading the initiative. “I conveyed my thanks to Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan in a phone call this morning,” Blinken said.
Relatives of Americans Alexander John-Robert Drueke and Andy Tai Ngoc Huynh — captured in June while fighting for Ukraine north of Kharkiv — confirmed to CNN earlier Wednesday that they had been released.
Five Britons have also been released, the British government said. In addition, three others — Moroccan, Swedish and Croatian nationals — were released in the exchange, the Saudi Foreign Ministry said.
In his statement, Blinken reiterated that US citizens are not allowed to travel to Ukraine.
“Americans traveling to Ukraine to take part in the fighting are at great risk and the United States cannot guarantee their safety,” he said. “We encourage American citizens to devote their energies to the many other opportunities out there to help the country of Ukraine and its people.”