TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Project DYNAMO, a Tampa-based nonprofit rescue group, announced Tuesday that it managed to rescue an American held captive by Russian forces.
Project DYNAMO, established during the fallout of the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, is dedicated to rescuing Americans and allies from hostile territory.
That’s why the volunteers said they had to rescue Kirillo Alexandrov, a 27-year-old American from Michigan who was living with his Ukrainian wife and mother-in-law at the time of his capture.
Alexandrov was trying to evacuate with his family when Russian troops arrested him on espionage charges, which Project DYNAMO said were fabricated. The Russians planned to extradite the American to Moscow for his alleged crimes.
However, Alexandrov’s mother contacted Project DYNAMO, which then contacted the U.S. government to use their Ukrainian and Russian contacts to rescue the young man.
“Our successes are a testament to the human and physical infrastructure we develop to support our operations,” said Bryan Stern, co-founder of Project DYNAMO. “Understanding how to operationalize networks during times of crisis is critical to the success of any rescue especially one of this magnitude.”
Stern was a combat veteran of the U.S. Army and U.S. Navy and led the mission to rescue Alexandrov from the Russians.
For over a month, negotiations were held for the American’s release to no avail. With negotiations failing, Alexandrov faced up to 20 years in Russian prison, according to the release from Project DYNAMO.
However, the rescue team managed to take advantage of an opportunity to rescue Alexandrov from a location 100 kilometers in Russian-held territory, which was surrounded by the Russian military and their land mines.
A ground operation was executed to rescue the 27-year-old, nicknamed DETROIT LIONS in reference to Alexandrov’s Michigan heritage. The volunteers said they had to cross through dangerous territory in Kherson Oblast, a Russian-controlled region.
“Nothing was off the table and countless hours were spent navigating the murky world of international security services and diplomacy between two countries at war, all with a young American in the middle,” Stern said. “We knew we had to do everything possible to get him out of captivity before he was illegally moved to Moscow. The bottom line is that our team stepped up, we got creative,”
As of Tuesday morning, Project DYNAMO personnel were rushing to Poland to evacuate Alexandrov and his family through an active war zone.
“This is a win for this family and America and a strong reminder to Russia that we will not leave our people behind,” Stern said.
Project DYNAMO has been involved in numerous rescue operations out of Ukraine, including the rescue of babies left stranded amid the war.