American fighter Grady Kurpasi missing in Ukraine as two others thought to be captured

US has not yet confirmed the former US Marine Corps officer’s whereabouts

<p>Russian army troops guard a power plant in the Kherson region</p>

Russian army troops guard a power plant in the Kherson region

A former US Marine Corps officer has been identified by his family as the third American man thought to have gone missing in Ukraine while fighting alongside the country’s forces.

Grady Kurpasi has not been heard from since 26 April, his family’s spokesperson, George Heath, told CNN on Thursday. He was stationed in the Kherson region at the time.

Mr Heath said the US Marine veteran had been holding a military post so civilians could evacuate from the region, which has come under heavy Russian fire since war began on 24 February.

The US State Department said hours earlier that a third American man had gone missing  “in recent weeks”, but did not name the individual.

Mr Kurpasi’s family said he was a “great man” who has always “led from the front and led by example”.

He joined the US Marines following the 2001 terror attack on New York City, where he lived at the time, and was later deployed to Iraq on three combat tours before retiring in November 2021.

Two other US citizens – Alexander Drueke, 39, and Andy Huynh, 27 – remain missing in the country and claims made on Russian social media, as well as an image of the duo, suggest they have been captured.

The State Department said on Thursday it could not confirm if they had been captured, although it is feared. The families of both men have asked the US government to work on securing their release.

Robert Drueke, 39, (left) and Andy Huynh, 27 (right), were reportedly captured by Russian forces following a battle in Kharkiv, according to Russian military claims. The men are the first Americans fighting with Ukraine to be captured during the war.

Mr Drueke and Mr Huynh, as well as Mr Kurpasi, belonged to a group of foreign fighters who have volunteered to fight against Russia on Ukraine’s behalf.

A Russian-backed court in Ukraine’s eastern occupied territories last week sentenced two British citizens and a Moroccan to death after being caught fighting for Ukraine.

State Department spokesperson Ned Price told a press briefing on Thursday that the US was in discussion with “other partners,” including the UK, over “this issue broadly.”

“We continue to urge in every way we can American citizens not to travel to Ukraine because of the attendant dangers that is posed by Russia’s ongoing aggression,” he added.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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