KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered a partial mobilization of reservists in Russia, effective immediately. He risks a deeply unpopular step that follows humiliating setbacks for his troops nearly seven months after invading Ukraine.
It’s the first mobilization in Russia since World War II. Western backers of Ukraine derided the move as an act of weakness.
The Russian leader also warned the West he isn’t bluffing over using everything at his disposal to protect Russian territory, in what appeared to be a veiled reference to his nuclear arsenal.
The partial mobilization came a day after Russian-occupied regions in eastern and southern Ukraine said they would hold votes on becoming part of Russia. Hundreds of people were arrested at protests across Russia.
Family: 2 American veterans captured in Ukraine released
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Relatives say two U.S. military veterans who went missing while fighting Russia with Ukrainian forces have been released after about three months in captivity. \
The families of 39-year-old Alex Drueke and 27-year-old Andy Huynh announced their release in a joint statement Wednesday.
The two men went to help Ukrainian forces and became friends because both are from Alabama. They went missing after their unit came under heavy fire in the Kharkiv region of northeastern Ukraine near the Russian border June 9.
The family statement says both men are safely in the custody of the U.S. embassy in Saudi Arabia. It was not immediately clear whether their release was part of a prisoner swap.