US soldier detained in Russia, charged with theft | Russian Military News

Relations were further strained after a US soldier was detained in Russia on suspicion of criminal activity.

In the latest high-profile detention of Americans by Russia, a US soldier was detained in Vladivostok on suspicion of theft.

Russia’s state-run RIA news agency reported on Tuesday that the soldier, identified in court as Gordon Black, will be detained until July 2.

U.S. officials told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity that the soldier, married Staff Sergeant Gordon Black, 34, was stationed in South Korea and was on his way back to Texas.

Instead, he traveled to Russia to meet his longtime girlfriend.

Another U.S. official told Reuters on condition of anonymity that Black was accused of stealing from a woman.

The soldier’s arrest is likely to further complicate relations between the United States and Russia, which have been strained by the protracted war in Ukraine.

Army spokeswoman Cynthia Smith confirmed Thursday that a soldier was detained on suspicion of criminal activity in Vladivostok, a major Pacific port. She said Russia notified the United States and the Army informed the soldiers’ families.

“The U.S. State Department is providing appropriate consular support to our soldiers in Russia,” Smith said.

The soldier’s arrest was first reported by NBC News.

“Unjustly detained”

President Joe Biden’s administration is lobbying Moscow to release several Americans, including Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich.

Mr. Gershkovic, 32, was detained by the Federal Security Service (FSB) on March 29 last year, becoming the first American journalist arrested on suspicion of espionage in Russia since the end of the Cold War. He, his newspaper, and the US government all deny that he is a spy.

Gershkovic and Paul Whelan, an American who was sentenced to 16 years in prison in 2020 after being convicted of spying for Russia, have both been designated as “wrongful detainees” by the U.S. State Department. This means that Washington is debunking the charges against them and is working hard on their behalf. release.

Asked about the detention of the soldiers, a US State Department spokesperson confirmed only that “American citizens were detained in Russia.”

“We reiterate our strong warning about the risks posed to U.S. nationals in the Russian Federation. As stated in the Russia Travel Advisory, U.S. nationals residing in or traveling to Russia should leave the country immediately. ,” a State Department spokesperson said.

“Due to privacy and other considerations, we are unable to provide further details at this time.”

The arrest comes less than a year after U.S. soldier Travis King sprinted across the heavily fortified border into North Korea. North Korea then announced that it would expel Dr. King, and Dr. King returned to the United States. He was eventually charged with desertion.

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