They had an emotional reunion with their families this weekend after being freed by Russian-backed separatists in a prisoner swap.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Two U.S. military veterans who disappeared three months ago while fighting with Ukrainian forces against Russia, arrived home in Alabama on Saturday to hugs, cheers and tears of joy at the state’s main airport.

Alex Druke, 40, and Andy Huynh, 27, went missing on June 9 in Kharkiv Oblast, northeastern Ukraine, near the border with Russia. The people of Alabama were released as part of a prisoner exchange. The couple traveled to Ukraine independently and connected in their common country.

“It’s them!” a family member shouted as the pair appeared at the top of an escalator at Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport in Birmingham, one of Alabama’s largest cities.

Smiling but looking tired, family members embraced them in a long, emotional hug after their flight home. They were then taken to a waiting car.

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“Surreal. I still feel the chills. I always imagined this day. On this day, I always had not only hope, but also faith. But I thought it would be two or three years at best,” Druke’s aunt Diana Shaw said.

“There are prisoners of war who are kept for months and years. There are people who have been illegally detained for years, and it is impossible for me to imagine that this could happen in three months,” she added. so that people forget about all the Ukrainians who are still being held.”

The families of the two men announced their release on Wednesday. The men were among 10 prisoners released by Russian-backed separatists in a prisoner exchange brokered by Saudi Arabia. The Saudi embassy said five British nationals and other nationals from Morocco, Sweden and Croatia were also released.

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Darla Black, whose daughter is engaged to Hyun, said she thought, “There he is. There he is,” as Huynh came into view.

“I had to hold it to believe it. I am simply overwhelmed with gratitude. We got our miracle, Black said.

The men arrived at JFK International Airport in New York on Friday.

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“We are looking forward to spending time with the family and we will be in touch with the media soon,” Drucke said shortly after arriving in New York with Huynh. “Happy to be home.”