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'Beyond a sense of relief': Tampa group rescues US citizen from 32 days in Russian captivity

He was reunited with his family after being held captive by Russian forces in Ukraine.

TAMPA, Fla. — Karillo Alexandrov, 27, has been reunited with his family, after being held hostage for more than a month by Russian forces in Ukraine.

Falsely accused of being an American spy, Alexandrov was potentially facing decades in prison – or worse.  

“There were many moments of hopelessness. I was pretty ignorant to what I was being charged with or what the consequences were," Alexandrov said. “My assumption a lot of the time was a bullet is coming, it’s just a matter of when.”

The reunion was the result of the work of the Tampa-based rescue organization known as Project Dynamo. The nonprofit has made close to 700 rescues so far during the Russian war in Ukraine, but co-founder Bryan Stern says this was one of the toughest.

“This operation was one of the hardest things that I’ve done in my career as far as complexity as far as risks, as far as consequence,” Stern said. 

The operation came with high risks and even higher stakes. 

“He is the first American citizen alive who is the victim of war crimes in this conflict. He’s the first one that survived," Stern said.

But for every success story on the ground in Ukraine, there’s another story of hardship, and pain. Alexandrov says there are more people out there who need help. 

“People are suffering more than I’ve suffered and it’s going to continue unless people are taken out of here," he said.

If you know someone who needs to be rescued, or you'd like to donate to the organization, you can find all the information at projectdynamo.org.

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