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Freed American Suedi Murekezi says he’s in contact with US officials, being ‘debriefed’

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ABC News

(KYIV, Ukraine) — Suedi Murekezi, an American who was freed from Russian-controlled territory on Wednesday, said he has since been in contact with U.S. officials.

Murekezi told ABC News on Thursday that he’s in Kyiv and “going through the protocol” of being debriefed and is in contact with U.S. and Ukrainian officials.

He said he has spoken to his family and they’re really happy he’s out of Russian-controlled territory.

He is not sure how long it will be until he can travel home to Minnesota.

Suedi had been arrested by the Russian-controlled authorities and spent weeks in a basement. He also spent three months in a prison in Donetsk city. He was later released by the Russians, but he was without his U.S. passport and was effectively trapped in Russian-controlled territory, living in the main city of Donetsk.

In an exclusive interview with ABC News on Wednesday, just minutes after he was rescued from Russian-occupied territory in a swap, Murekezi said the emotion was “overwhelming.”

“I can’t wait to see my family,” he said, adding that he wanted a “a hot shower” and a “peanut butter sandwich.”

Over the last few weeks he “felt trapped” in Russian-controlled territory, he said. Living in a safe house in the city of Donetsk without any documents, he said he tried to avoid thinking about his family potentially spending Christmas without him.

“I was trying to ignore emotions that were making me sad,” he said, adding, “Now I’m in Ukrainian [controlled] land, so it’s quite overwhelming.”

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