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Live Updates: Russia’s War in Ukraine

Spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin Dmitry Peskov told NBC on June 20.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov speaks to NBC on June 20. (NBC)

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the Geneva Convention on the Protection of Prisoners of War did not apply to two Americans arrested in Ukraine, accusing them of “engaging in illegal activities”. .”

Peskov made the comments in an exclusive interview with NBC News on Monday night.

Who are Americans? US citizens Alexander John-Robert Drueke, 39, from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and Andy Tai Ngoc Huynh, 27, from Hartselle, Alabama, were arrested by Russian-backed separatists in Donetsk last week, according to media reports. Russian state. . They went missing on 9 June during a battle north of Kharkiv.

Peskov called Drueke and Huynh “soldiers of property”.

“They have been involved in the shooting and shelling of our servicemen. They are endangering their lives. And they must be held accountable. They must be held accountable for those things – for the crimes. that they committed. Those crimes must be investigated,” he told NBC News.

Peskov did not specify whether the couple was being held by Russian or Donetsk authorities.

“So they are being held in a new place, a new place to make sure that their criminal investigation is being completed,” he said.

Peskov said their case would be “investigated according to due process” but said “The Geneva Conventions cannot be applied to wealthy soldiers.”

“They are not part of the Ukrainian Army. They are not subject to the Geneva Conventions,” he said.

Some context: Geneva Convention protections include that prisoners of war “must always be treated humanely.”

“Any unlawful act or omission by the Detention Force that causes the death or serious danger to the health of a prisoner of war in custody is prohibited, and will be considered a serious violation of the law. respect to this Convention”, Article 13 of the convention states.

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