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American soldier detained in Russia on theft charges

A U.S. official confirms that Russia has detained an American soldier on theft charges.
The Senate Building in Kremlin
Posted at 2:41 PM, May 06, 2024

During a White House briefing Monday, National Security Council Coordinator John F. Kirby confirmed that Russian officials have detained a U.S. soldier.

“I can't really say much about it right now,” said Kirby. “But we are aware of this case.”

According to CNN, on May 2, Staff Sgt. Gordon Black, 34, was detained and is now in pretrial custody under suspicion of theft. He had been stationed in South Korea and voluntarily traveled to Russia before a scheduled trip home to Fort Cavazos, Texas.

"When a U.S. citizen is detained abroad, consular officers seek to aid him or her with all appropriate assistance. We take seriously our commitment to assist U.S. citizens abroad and provide all appropriate assistance," a U.S. State Department spokesperson said in a statement. "We reiterate our strong warnings about the danger posed to U.S. citizens inside the Russian Federation. U.S. citizens residing or traveling in Russia should depart immediately, as stated in our Travel Advisory for Russia."

The report states that the soldier was not absent without leave (AWOL) and that his family has been notified.

Russia has detained several Americans, including Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich and former Marine Paul Whelan, with the U.S. State Department labeling them as wrongfully held.