Tampa nonprofit says it rescued an American hostage from Russian forces

Kirillo Alexandrov rescue Project Dynamo.png
Posted at 8:32 AM, May 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-10 08:32:41-04

A Tampa-based nonprofit that has been working to rescue and evacuate people from Ukraine amid the Russian invasion said it rescued an American hostage Tuesday morning.

Project Dynamo said it rescued Kirillo Alexandrov, 27, and his family from Russian captivity.

The nonprofit said Alexandrov, from Michigan, was living in a small town near Kherson with his Ukrainian wife and mother-in-law when Russian forces invaded in March.

According to Project Dynamo, Alexandrov was arrested while trying to evacuate with his family. The nonprofit said Russian forces, "fabricated nearly a dozen criminal charges against him centered on espionage and other charges related to allegedly spying for the U.S. government."

Since his arrest, the nonprofit said Alexandrov has been interrogated and detained as a hostage for more than a month, and Russian forces intended to send him to Moscow, "where he would presumably be leveraged for propaganda, and then imprisoned for up to 20 years on false charges including espionage."

The nonprofit said it was contacted by Alexandrov's mother, immediately informed the U.S. government, and started to work its extensive network of Ukrainian and Russian contacts.

Negotiations took place over more than a month but the nonprofit said communication stalled "with time running out" as Alexandrov was scheduled to be extradited to Moscow.

“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 and a combat veteran of the U.S. Army and U.S. Navy who led the rescue mission. “Understanding how to operationalize networks during times of crisis is critical to the success of any rescue.”

Project Dynamo said Alexandrov was located over 100 kilometers behind the front lines in an area controlled by Russian forces and surrounded by landmines and troopers. The group said it chose a ground option as the rescue.

“We’ve had more than a dozen team members from Project DYNAMO spread out across Poland, Ukraine, Romania, and the U.S. developing an array of plans from airborne operations in Russia to maritime extraction options within Ukraine,” said Stern. “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. 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, and we never gave up on this young American or his family.”

Now, Project Dynamo said it's racing to the Polish border to evacuate Alexandrov and his family which will end up being an approximately 18-hour journey through the Ukrainian war zone.

The group dubbed the rescue operation Detroit Lions, with Alexandrov referred to as "Lion," because he's a Michigan native.

Anyone in need of evacuation is urged to register at and register for the U.S. State Department’s STEP program.