US soldier detained in Russia named as Staff Sergeant Gordon Black

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A US soldier has been arrested and detained in Russia after being accused of “criminal misconduct”.

The man travelled to the country alone from South Korea where he is stationed, NBC News reported. A spokesperson later confirmed that he had been arrested after he allegedly stole from a woman, The Associated Press reported.

The man has been identified as Staff Sergeant Gordon Black, aged 34, by the AP. The US Army has not officially named him.

The soldier was supposed to be on his way home to Fort Cavazos,Texas but traveled to Russia instead, reports said.

The soldier was arrested on 2nd May in Vladivostok on Russia’s east coast, close to North Korea. The US Embassy in Moscow, over 5,000 miles from where he was detained, is in contact with the soldier’s family.

“The Russian Federation notified the US Department of State of the criminal detention in accordance with the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations,” US Army spokesperson, Cynthia O. Smith, told The Independent.

“The Army notified his family and the U.S. 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.”

A view shows the Kremlin in downtown Moscow on March 27, 2024. (AFP via Getty Images)
A view shows the Kremlin in downtown Moscow on March 27, 2024. (AFP via Getty Images)

White House National Security Communications Advisor, John Kirby, told Politico that the US was aware of the situation but did not comment further.

A Department of State spokesperson told The Independent that Americans should be aware of the danger of travelling to Russia at this time.

“We have no higher priority than the safety and security of U.S. citizens overseas,” the spokesperson said. “When a U.S. citizen is detained abroad, consular officers seek to aid him or her with all appropriate assistance.

“U.S. citizens residing or travelling in Russia should depart immediately, as stated in our Travel Advisory for Russia.”

Tensions have remained high between the US and Russia following the country’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Moscow has detained a number of US citizens with a journalist and a dual-citizen among them. In late April, Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich was told he will remain in jail in Russia until at least the end of June. He is accused of espionage.

WNBA player Brittney Griner was also detained by Russia in early 2022 on drug-related charges. She was released as part of a prisoner swap in December 2022 and has written a book about her harrowing experiences.

Last year, Travis King, an American soldier stationed in South Korea, fled to North Korea when he faced disciplinary action. He was later detained by US officials.