A Michigan native has been safely reunited with his American family in Poland after being illegally held captive by Russian forces in eastern Ukraine for more than a month.
Kirillo Alexandrov, 27, who was falsely charged with espionage and illegally detained along with his Ukrainian wife and mother-in-law by the Russian military is the first American victim and survivor of Russian war crimes during the Ukrainian-Russian war.
On Monday, after weeks of planning, Project DYNAMO initiated their rescue and had to successfully pass through more than 20 Russian checkpoints to a secure location near the contested vicinity of Kherson, Ukraine.
Project DYNAMO has been operating throughout Ukraine since early February and negotiating for Alexandrov’s release since early April.
Rescue mission leader Bryan Stern of Tampa, is the co-founder of Project DYNAMO and a combat veteran of the U.S. Army and U.S. Navy.
In late March, while attempting to evacuate his home near Kherson, Alexandrov and his family were captured, detained, and falsely charged by the Russian military and security services with 11 fabricated crimes that included alleged spying and espionage on behalf of the U.S. government.
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.
“I will never and could never forget any of this” Alexandrov said. “I don’t know how I can ever repay Bryan and his team for all of this, because we would be dead if it wasn’t for them.”
Project DYNAMO is a donor-funded non-profit organization headquartered in Tampa and was established by several U.S. service members during the U.S. pullout from Afghanistan in 2021. Recognizing that the U.S. government was unlikely to conduct operations on the ground in Ukraine, Project DYNAMO forward-deployed team members in January of 2022.