May 21, 2024

Westside People

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A US Army sergeant accused of theft was arrested in Russia

A US Army sergeant accused of theft was arrested in Russia

Image source, Gordon Black via Facebook/Reuters

The US military said that an American soldier stationed in South Korea was arrested in Russia.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said that the charges were not related to “politics or espionage,” but rather to a “purely internal crime.”

Sergeant Gordon Black is charged with theft of personal property.

The 34-year-old was not on official travel when he was detained on May 2 in the city of Vladivostok, in Russia’s far east.

Sergeant Black was in the process of changing his duty station from South Korea to Fort Cavazos in the US state of Texas, according to a statement issued by the US Army.

Instead of returning to the United States, he traveled via China to Vladivostok for personal reasons, US Army spokeswoman Cynthia Smith said in a statement.

According to Russian media, he was visiting a woman with whom he had a romantic relationship.

The soldier’s mother, Melody Jones, confirmed to CBS that he was in Russia to visit his girlfriend.

“Please don’t torture him [or] “I hurt him,” Melody Jones said when asked about her message to the Russians.

Sergeant Black enlisted as an Infantryman in 2008 and deployed to Iraq in 2009 and Afghanistan in 2013. He was most recently assigned to USFK’s Eighth Army at Camp Humphreys, South Korea.

The Russian Interior Ministry informed the US Embassy in Moscow on May 3 that Sergeant Black had been arrested the previous day on charges of theft of personal property.

He is being held in remand until his next hearing.

“The Army has notified his family and the US State Department is providing appropriate consular support to the soldier in Russia,” the US Army said in a statement on Monday.

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters that the United States is “aware of this case and other matters related to Russia.”

At a White House news conference on Monday, Kirby said he could not provide further details.

Russia detains other Americans. Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich has been in detention since March 2023 on espionage charges.

Former US Marine Paul Whelan was charged with espionage and sentenced to 16 years in prison in 2020.

The two men insist on their innocence, and the US government says that the charges against them are baseless.