May 21, 2024

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US soldier detained in Russia for criminal offences.

US soldier detained in Russia for criminal offences.

A U.S. soldier has been detained in Russia since Thursday, where he is accused of a “criminal offense,” a U.S. military spokesman announced Monday.

“On May 2, 2024, Russian authorities in Vladivostok, Russia, arrested a U.S. soldier on criminal charges,” said Cynthia Smith, adding that the soldier’s family was notified and offered consular support.

“Due to the sensitivity of the matter, no further details can be provided at this time,” he added.

Earlier, the White House said it was aware of the detention of a US soldier in Russia.

John Kirby, a spokesman for the National Security Council, said: “We are aware of this matter.

He was responding to reports from NBC News that a soldier deployed to South Korea traveled alone to Russia, where he was arrested.

The soldier, a sergeant, was arrested Thursday on suspicion of theft and is currently in pretrial detention, CNN reported.

In recent years, several US citizens have been arrested and sentenced to long sentences in Russia. Washington, which has supported Ukraine against the Russian military for two years, accuses Moscow of wanting to exchange Russians detained in the United States.

Wall Street Journal reporter Ivan Gershkovich, who previously worked for AFP in Moscow, was arrested by the Russian Security Services (FSB) in March 2023 during a report in Yekaterinburg, in the Urals.

He was charged with espionage, a crime punishable by up to 20 years in prison, the harshest punishment for a foreign journalist since the end of the Soviet Union.

He denies the allegations, as does America, his newspaper, his loved ones and his family.

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Russia has never proven its allegations or publicly provided evidence. The entire process was classified as confidential.

Russian-American journalist Alsu Kurmasheva, who works for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), has also been detained since October 2023 for failing to register as a “foreign agent,” according to authorities.