They are Alexander John-Robert Druke, 39, from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and Andy Tai Ngoc Huynh, 27, from Hartsell, Alabama.
The person acting as the group’s sergeant, who wished to remain anonymous for security reasons, provided CNN with photographs of both men’s passports and their Ukrainian entry stamps.
The man said that their unit fought under the command of the 92nd Mechanized Brigade of Ukraine on June 9 near the city of Izbitskoe.
He said that Druke and Huyin went missing during the battle, and that subsequent search missions failed to find any remains. The next day, a message from a Russian propaganda channel on Telegram claimed that two Americans had been taken prisoner near Kharkov.
“It was absolute chaos,” he told CNN. “Our positions were attacked by more than a hundred infantrymen. We had a T72 that fired at people from 30-40 meters.”
Bunny Druke, Alexander’s mother, told CNN that “it is assumed they are POWs, but this has not been confirmed.” She said the US embassy in Ukraine was unable to verify whether her son had been captured.
“They couldn’t confirm that he was with the Russians. All they can confirm is that he is missing at the moment,” she said. “They are in close contact with me and I am absolutely sure that they are working on the situation.”
Hyun’s fiancée, Joy Black, told CNN, “We don’t want to speculate about what might have happened around this time. Obviously, they are considering several scenarios. And one of them is that they could be captured. so far there is no absolute confirmation of this.
A US State Department spokesman said on Wednesday they were “aware of unconfirmed reports of two US citizens captured in Ukraine.”
“We are closely monitoring the situation and are in contact with the Ukrainian authorities,” the spokesman said. “Due to privacy concerns, we have no further comment.”
On Wednesday, the White House said it could not confirm the reports, but National Security Council strategic communications coordinator John Kirby said “if this is true, we will do everything we can to ensure they return home safely.”
Both Bunny Druke and Black told CNN their last contact with their loved ones was on June 8, when the men told them they would go offline for a few days to complete a mission.
“It was actually quite a normal conversation: I told him that I was going with friends to our favorite restaurant,” Black said. “And he said, ‘I love you very much.’ And then he said, “I’ll be unavailable for two or three days.” Which I found out was for an operation they were doing.”
According to her, they got engaged in March, shortly before his departure to Ukraine.
“We didn’t know if we wanted to get married or get engaged before he left. And we decided to just get engaged so that when he gets back, we can get married and enjoy it, and not break up right after the wedding.”
Now, she says, she is “very fragile.”
“Despite the fact that nothing much happened, I’m still very proud of Andy for his strength,” she added.
Bunny Druke said she has “ups and downs”.
“I try to stay calm and brave, because losing everything will not help Alex at all. So I’m just trying to stay calm,” she said.
Jennifer Hansler and Caitlan Collins of CNN provided coverage from Washington, DC.