WARSAW, Poland — An American man and his family held captive since March by Russian forces in Ukraine and who were recently rescued by Project DYNAMO have safely arrived in Poland.
The Tampa-based nonprofit says 27-year-old Kirillo Alexandrov, a Michigan native, was held captive along with his Ukrainian wife and mother-in-law by Russian military. Alexandrov had been falsely charged with espionage and is the "first American victim and survivor of Russian war crimes," according to Project DYNAMO.
"According to Alexandrov, Russian soldiers violently assaulted his wife, handcuffed him, beat him on multiple occasions, and conducted mock executions, a direct violation of the Geneva Convention and a violation of basic professional military honor and human dignity," Project DYNAMO said in a release.
Alexandrov’s mom contacted the nonprofit, which alerted the U.S. government. From there, Project DYNAMO says it began planning the “highly complex and dangerous rescue” that relied on a network of contacts in Russia and Ukraine.
Project DYNAMO said its team negotiated with Alexandrov’s captors for more than a month before conversations stalled. When Project DYNAMO realized he was about to be moved to Moscow where he could have been imprisoned for decades, the nonprofit initiated a special operation to get him back.
At the time, Alexandrov was being held more than 62 miles behind the front lines of the fight for Ukraine. He was in a Russia-controlled region surrounded by land minds, troops, tanks and artillery. Once Project DYNAMO got him out of the Russians’ hands, the evacuation team loaded him and his family up and began the 10-15-hour journey through the active war zone in Ukraine and toward the border with Poland.
Now, Alexandrov and his family are free and safely reunited in Poland.
And, Project DYNAMO says its team and Alexandrov are now in talks with the United Nations, the International Criminal Court and the U.S. Department of State, Justice and Defense regarding the abuse.
“We have heard reports of war crimes in the media. We have met many victims and witnesses to these atrocities through the other operations we have conducted here. But to hear these accounts firsthand from an American citizen and his family and discovering what they endured by these forces enrages me,” said rescue mission leader Bryan Stern, co-founder of Project DYNAMO and a combat veteran of the U.S. Army and U.S. Navy.
“What these men did to this young couple is vile and the definition of dishonor by military standards. Their lives will forever be altered and for no reason other than being an American. My hope is that the U.S. government and international agencies against war crimes take these accusations into account and respond accordingly. No person, American or otherwise, should ever be subjected to such brutality.”
The rescue mission was dubbed DETROIT LIONS because Alexandrov was from Michigan. While this was Project DYNAMO’s first rescue of an American captive in Ukraine, the nonprofit has saved close to 700 people from the war zone across over 50 missions in recent months.