Minnesota man released from Russian captivity, reunited with family

A man sits at a table
Tyler Jacob, who grew up in Winona, Minn., moved to Ukraine in November, and disappeared after he told his family he'd been taken into custody by Russian military forces to be deported. The Russian military has released him after capturing him for 10 days.
Courtesy of Tyler Jacob's family

A Minnesota man living in Ukraine has been reunited with his family after Russian forces held him captive.

Tyler Jacob, 28, of Winona, Minn., had been teaching English in Kherson when the invasion started. Kherson was the first Ukrainian city that Kremlin troops captured. The Pentagon says Ukrainian forces are fighting to regain control of the port city.

Jacob was trying to leave the country when Russian forces detained him. His mother Tina Hauser said her son got on a bus expecting a ride out of the country with other foreigners. Instead, the Russian military took him to a jail in Crimea and held him there for about 10 days.

"All I know right now is that it was not a very good situation, but he wasn't treated badly or anything like that,” she said in an interview with MPR News Friday .

A person talks during a Zoom news conference.
Tina Hauser, mother of Tyler Jacob, speaks during a virtual press conference on Friday.
Screengrab of a video call

“He was released and is now in a safe area."

Hauser said she spoke with Jacob briefly after his release.

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“He did not give a whole lot of details because we have not had a whole lot of time to talk things over yet, but I heard his voice and that’s all that matters to me,” she said. “It was like angels singing to me.”

Hauser said her son plans to return to the U.S. after getting visas for his Ukrainian wife and stepdaughter.

Hauser and Jacob’s father John Quinn appeared later Friday at a Zoom news conference along with U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, who said Jacob's release was made possible in part by cooperation from several different government agencies.

"We worked with the U.S. embassy in Moscow, the U.S. embassy in Ukraine and Poland,” Klobuchar said. “We worked with the Department of State’s overseas task force. And we were in constant contact with the family."