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Minnesota man captured by Russians in Ukraine is now safe, mom says

A Minnesota man who was taken prisoner by Russian troops in Ukraine earlier this month has been freed — and safely reunited with his wife and daughter, his relieved mother told The Post Friday.

Tina Hauser said she was finally able to speak to her son, 28-year-old Tyler Jacob, on Friday after nearly two weeks of anxiously awaiting word about his condition.

“It’s just been awesome to be able to hear his voice again – it was like angels singing in my ears,” Hauser said.

The phone call “was very emotional because this was the day that I’ve been waiting for almost two weeks now,” she said.

Hauser’s son was captured on March 12 when Russian forces stopped a bus bound for Turkey he was riding with his Ukrainian wife and her 11-year-old daughter.

Tyler Jacob was captured on March 12 when Russian forces stopped a bus bound for Turkey he was on.
Courtesy of Tina Hauser

After being holed up in what his mother described as a “jail,” he was released by Russian authorities and is working on returning to the US with his family.

Hauser told The Post she was “ecstatic” hearing that her son is “now safe and can get on with his life.”

“When he got to the safe country that he’s in, he called me,” she said. “He was with an ambassador at the time so she called and he got on the phone and was telling us where he was and I said ‘get yourself situated, do what you need to do and then we’ll get in contact later when everything settles down later today or tomorrow.’”

Hauser said she could not disclose exactly where her son was for security reasons.

Tyler Jacob made the decision to flee with his family to Turkey, but was detained by Russian troops at a checkpoint in northern Crimea.
Tyler Jacob made the decision to flee with his family to Turkey, but was detained by Russian troops at a checkpoint in northern Crimea.
Courtesy of Tina Hauser

Jacob was treated “fairly well” while he was locked up, his mother said, but was terribly bored.

“He read a book like four times a day,” she said. “But he took the time to reflect on his life and what was going on and he just patiently waited for that day to come that he’d be released.”

Jacob took a job teaching English in Ukraine in November and was living with his wife and her daughter in the southern city of Kherson.

He made the difficult decision to flee the besieged city with his family to Turkey, but was detained by Russian troops at a checkpoint in Armiansk in northern Crimea.

The US Embassy in Moscow told Hauser her son is the second US citizen to be detained by Russian troops during its invasion of Ukraine.

Now in a “safe country,” Hauser said he still has a long journey ahead of him before he’s back on US soil as he works to get visas for his wife and daughter.

“It’s going to be at least a couple of months before we can get the visas all taken care of even though we’re trying to expedite it,” she said.

Hauser said she was grateful for the outpouring of support she received from Americans and was especially appreciative of the help of the US government in getting her son to safety.

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who worked with the State Department and embassy in Moscow to locate and free Jacob, said she was “relieved” to hear that he’d been reunited with his wife and daughter.

“Over the last two weeks, my team and I have been in close contact with his family, the State Department, and the U.S. embassy in Moscow working towards this outcome, and I am grateful that we were able to help bring him to safety,” she said in a statement.

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