US soldier detained in Russia on theft suspicion

Washington, DC [US], May 7: An American soldier in Russia was arrested last week on suspicion of theft, CNN reported, citing, two US officials.
The detained soldier, identified as Gordon Black by an official, remains in pre-trial detention. While the US Army hasn’t confirmed the soldier’s name, they’ve assured that the family has been informed.
According to sources, the soldier, a staff sergeant stationed in South Korea, voluntarily travelled to Russia. The soldier was taken into custody on May 2 by Russian authorities, according to CNN.
“The Russian Federation notified the US Department of State of the criminal detention in accordance with the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations,” US spokesperson Cynthia Smith, said, adding, “The Army notified his family and the US Department of State is providing appropriate consular support to the Soldier in Russia. Given the sensitivity of this matter, we are unable to provide additional details at this time.”
Amid ongoing tensions between the US and Russia due to the conflict with Ukraine, the soldier’s detention adds to the strained relations. Notably, there are other Americans currently detained in Russia, including individuals deemed wrongfully detained by the US State Department, such as Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich and former Marine Paul Whelan.
The soldier, who took leave from his South Korea station to visit Russia independently, wasn’t reported as absent without leave (AWOL) during his trip. Plans for his future stationing at Ft Cavazos in Texas were in place, although specifics regarding the transition date were not disclosed.
While the State Department confirmed the detention of a US citizen in Russia, further details were withheld.
“We have no higher priority than the safety and security of US citizens overseas,” an official said.
Efforts are underway to secure consular access for the soldier through the US Embassy in Moscow, according to CNN.
This incident serves as a reminder of the risks associated with travel to Russia, as reiterated by John Kirby, the strategic communications coordinator for the National Security Council, following the arrest of Ksenia Karelina, a dual Russian-American citizen, earlier this year. Kirby emphasised the dangers posed to US citizens within Russian borders, advising against travel to the region.
In a separate incident last July, Pvt Travis King, also stationed in South Korea, voluntarily crossed into North Korea, resulting in his immediate detention. Despite plans for his return to the US to face disciplinary measures, King left the airport on his own after being released by Army escorts at a security checkpoint. His release was eventually secured through extensive diplomatic efforts, CNN reported. (Agencies)

The post US soldier detained in Russia on theft suspicion appeared first on Daily Excelsior.