A Kremlin spokesman on Monday would not rule out the death penalty for two Americans captured by Russian forces while fighting for Ukraine. "It depends on the investigation," Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for President Vladimir Putin, told NBC News in an interview. Alexander Drueke and Andy Huynh were participating in illegal activities, Peskov said, by shooting at Russian troops in Ukraine. The Americans "were endangering their lives," he said. The two US military veterans were reported missing last week.
A Russian-controlled court in eastern Ukraine gave the death penalty to a Moroccan and two British citizens who had fought Russian forces earlier this month. Ukraine said in March that 20,000 people from 52 countries had offered to join the fight on its side. Peskov wouldn't say where the Americans, whom he called "soldiers of fortune," were being held but said they probably aren't protected by the Geneva Conventions because they weren't in Ukraine's regular army. "There will be a court, and there will be a court decision," Peskov said, per NBC. "They should be punished." (Read more Russia-Ukraine war stories.)