US man arrested by Russian forces while fleeing Ukrainian city is released

A Minnesota man who was detained by Russian forces while attempting to flee the Ukrainian city of Kherson and was held for 10 days has been released, US Senator Amy Klobuchar said on Friday.

Tyler Jacob, 28, who lived in Ukraine, was arrested by Russian forces about two weeks ago, her office said in a statement.

“I’m relieved that Tyler is safely reunited with his wife and daughter. For the past two weeks, my team and I have been in close contact with his family, the State Department and the US Embassy in Moscow to work towards this outcome and I am grateful that we were able to help him get him to safety. Klobuchar, D-Minnesota, said in a statement.

Tina Hauser and her son Tyler Jacob.Courtesy of Tina Hauser

Jacob’s mother, Tina Hauser, said on MSNBC earlier this month that her son’s wife was told he was taken off a bus at a checkpoint in Russian-controlled Crimea.

Hauser said Jacob moved to Ukraine with his then-girlfriend to teach English last year and the couple married in January.

Kherson, a large, strategically important city two hours north of Crimea, fell to Russian forces earlier this month.

On Friday, a senior US defense official said it now appeared that Kherson was contested and Ukrainian forces had launched a counterattack.

“We can’t confirm exactly who is in control of Kherson, but the point is that it doesn’t appear to be under Russian control as firmly as it used to be. Ukrainians are trying to retake Kherson,” the US official said. “We would argue that Kherson is indeed contested territory again.”

Russia attacked and invaded Ukraine a month ago, in what the US and other Western nations have condemned as an unprovoked and unjustifiable attack.

The mayor of Kherson said in early March the city was occupied by Russian forces. It was the first major city to come under Russian control.

In the statement released by Klobuchar’s office, Hauser said the ordeal was harrowing but she was thrilled that her son was released.

“This was a parent’s worst nightmare, but tonight I have peace of mind knowing my son is safe,” she said.

Jacob’s father, John Quinn, called it “the most terrifying experience as a parent.” He said his heart is with the many families who are still in Ukraine.

Klobuchar’s office said Tyler Jacob was arrested and held in Russia for 10 days. The senator called his detention unfair.

A State Department spokesman said the department was aware of the reports but had not made any further comment due to privacy concerns.

Another US citizen with ties to Minnesota, Jim Hill, was killed in the Ukrainian city of Chernihiv, his family told Minneapolis-based NBC affiliate KARE.

Hill, who was born in Minneapolis but lived in Idaho, had lived in Kyiv but was in Chernihiv to seek treatment for his partner who has multiple sclerosis, his family told the broadcaster.

There are reports of thousands of civilians killed in Ukraine since the Russian attack. Russia has denied attacking civilians.

The United Nations Human Rights Office has recorded more than 1,000 civilians killed, but it says the real number of casualties is higher because fighting has delayed many reports and other reports are still being confirmed.

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