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US nonprofit says it rescued American held hostage by Russian forces in Ukraine

The Ukrainian flag flies alongside the U.S. flag.

Project Dynamo, an evacuation nonprofit based in Florida, announced Tuesday it rescued an American citizen who was held hostage by Russian forces in Ukraine. 

The nonprofit said its team was able to rescue Kirillo Alexandrov, a 27-year-old U.S. citizen, and his family from around Mykolaiv Oblast, Ukraine.

Alexandrov and his family were taken hostage by Russian forces in March after they tried to escape Kherson.

Alexandrov was born in Michigan but has been living in Kherson with his Ukrainian wife and family. As he and his family attempted to flee the war, Russian forces arrested him and “fabricated nearly a dozen criminal charges against him centered on espionage and other charges related to allegedly spying for the U.S. government.”

The operation to rescue Alexandrov was called “Detroit Lions,” and Alexandrov was referred to as “Lion” since he was from Michigan, according to rescue mission leader Bryan Stern, who is also the co-founder of Project Dynamo and a combat veteran of the U.S. Army and U.S. Navy.

The nonprofit says Alexandrov had been a hostage in Ukraine for a month and was going to be sent to Moscow. 

The news comes as the United Nations has said it has evidence of at least 200 cases where mostly men have been taken from Ukraine to Belarus and eventually transported to Russia for predetention trials. 

Project Dynamo found out about the situation through Alexandrov’s mother and has been working with the U.S. government to get him and his family to safety. 

“We are aware of these reports. Due to privacy considerations, we have no further comment,” a State Department spokesperson told The Hill when asked about the rescue mission. 

Project Dynamo has been in Ukraine since February, right before the war began, to prepare for evacuations in which it expected to assist.

“We’ve had more than a dozen team members from Project DYNAMO spread out across Poland, Ukraine, Romania, and the U.S. developing an array of plans from airborne operations in Russia to maritime extraction options within Ukraine,” Stern said of Alexandrov’s rescue mission.

“Nothing was off the table and countless hours were spent navigating the murky world of international security services and diplomacy between two countries at war, all with a young American in the middle. We knew we had to do everything possible to get him out of captivity before he was illegally moved to Moscow. The bottom line is that our team stepped up, we got creative, and we never gave up on this young American or his family,” he added.

Tags American hostage Project DYNAMO Russia-Ukraine war ukraine

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