Monday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated that two Americans detained in Ukraine while fighting alongside Kyiv's troops endangered Russian soldiers and should be "held accountable for these crimes."
According to NBC News, Mr. Peskov's remarks were the first time the Kremlin has spoken on the cases of Alexander Drueke and Andy Huynh, both of whom are US military veterans.
Mr. Peskov stated, "They're soldiers of fortune and they were involved in illegal activities on the territory of Ukraine,"
They were responsible for firing against and shelling our military forces and putting their lives in jeopardy.
"They must be held accountable for the atrocities they have committed. These offenses require investigation."
Mr. Peskov acknowledged that their specific offenses were not yet known but asserted that the Geneva Conventions would not cover them for prisoners of war.
"They are not Ukrainian army, so they are not subject to the Geneva Conventions," he explained.
Last week, a Russian state-run television station broadcast videos of Mr. Drueke and Mr. Huynh on social media.
The circumstances under which the two men were being detained were unclear, as was the identity of their captors. Mr. Peskov stated simply that they were in the custody of "authorities."
"It depends on the investigation." he answered when asked if they could face the death penalty.
Friday, US President Joe Biden stated that he was unaware of the whereabouts of Mr. Drueke and Mr. Huynh. They are reported to have volunteered alongside the Ukrainian military alongside other foreigners.
A spokesperson of the US State Department acknowledged on Saturday that American officials have viewed images and videos of the two US nationals "reportedly captured by Russia's military forces in Ukraine."
The spokesman told AFP, "We are closely monitoring the situation and our hearts go out to their families during this difficult time,"
Mr. Peskov vehemently refuted the notion that WNBA sensation Brittney Griner, who is being held in pre-trial detention in Russia on drug accusations, is being held as a hostage.
He stated, "We cannot call her a hostage," Why should she be considered a hostage? She has broken Russian law and is now being persecuted."
Griner, 31, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and WNBA champion, was held in February at the Moscow airport on suspicion of transporting vape cartridges containing cannabis oil, which carries a potential 10-year sentence.
Washington claims that she was "wrongfully detained" by Russia and has sent her case to the US special envoy for hostages.
Her pre-trial confinement has been prolonged until July 2.