Russian Forces Release Minnesota Teacher Who Tried to Escape Ukraine

  • A 28-year-old American teacher was released this week after being held by Russian forces in Ukraine.
  • Tyler Jacob, from Winona, Minnesota, was trying to flee Ukraine earlier this month when Russian forces detained him at the Turkish border.
  • He was held in custody for 10 days but is now reunited with his family, Sen. Amy Klobuchar said.

A Minnesota teacher who was detained by Russian forces while trying to flee Ukraine has been released.

Tyler Jacob, a 28-year-old teacher from Winona, Minnesota, was held by Russian soldiers in custody but is now back with his family, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who represents Minnesota, said in a statement on Friday.

Klobuchar said she had reached out to the State Department for assistance with returning him to the United States.

“Over the last two weeks, my team and I have been in close contact with his family, the State Department, and the US embassy in Moscow working towards this outcome, and I am grateful that we were able to help bring him to safety, Klobuchar said.

Jacob had been detained earlier this month while trying to cross into Turkey, The Star Tribune reported. He had first gone to Ukraine in November to teach English and live with his Ukrainian girlfriend. In January, Jacob and his girlfriend got married and settled in Kherson, a port city about 330 miles south of Kyiv, according to the paper.

Then, the Russian invasion hit. Jacob stayed for a couple of weeks as Russian forces advanced and Ukrainian soldiers mounted a defensive front. But then he decided he needed to flee the country, according to The Star Tribune.

He and a group of Turkish friends boarded a bus for the Turkish border. But at a checkpoint in Crimea, Russian forces took him into custody, where he stayed for 10 days.

Klobuchar said he’s since been “reunited with his wife and daughter.”

“It was like angels singing in my ear when I heard his voice again,” said his mother, Tina Hauser, according to The Star Tribune. “He sounded really tired and he was just happy to be in a safe place and out of where he was.”

The circumstances of his detention have not yet been publicly revealed, but Jacob said he was not hurt or mistreated while held in custody, his father, John Quinn, told CNN.

“At some point,” Klobuchar said, “the whole story will be told,” The Star Tribune reported.

“It was a roller coaster,” Quinn said. “It was up and down, the hurdles that we had to get over to get him to safety.”

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