MARIUPOL, Ukraine (WFLA) — Project Dynamo, a Tampa-based non-profit that conducts rescue missions in foreign countries, announced Tuesday they rescued an American nuclear scientist from a Russia-occupied area of Ukraine.
They said John Spor, a Texas native who designs technology in laser-guided weapons systems used by the U.S. military, was being “hunted” by Russian forces for months. Spor is a high value target to Russian forces and intelligence services because of his work, according to Project Dynamo.
Spor was living in Mariupol when Russia invaded and fled after the siege. He’s been on the run ever since, Project Dynamo said.
Being unable to easily leave Ukraine, his sister contacted a number of people, including the U.S. State Department, Senator Ted Cruz and U.S. Congressman Randy Weber, to help evacuate him. They recommended Project Dynamo to her.
Tuesday, a group led by co-founder Bryan Stern, helped move Spor through 30 Russian checkpoints and into a safe area of Ukraine.
“Project DYNAMO has been with our family every step of the way through this nightmare. DYNAMO has been the answer to our family’s prayers,” Spor’s sister Lauri Weigle said. “We are in amazement that he is finally on his way to us and safe after months of hoping and praying.”
Spor is now on his way to a nearby country to be reunited with his family.