U.S. soldier confirmed to be held in detention in Russia

A woman in Russia has accused a U.S. Army sergeant stationed in Korea of stealing from her, leading to his detention in the country. This information was shared by two Pentagon officials on Monday.

Staff Sgt. Gordon D. Black was apprehended on May 2 in Vladivostok. It remains uncertain as to how he ended up there, but he was in the midst of relocating from Korea to Fort Cavazos (Ft. Hood) in the U.S. It is important to note that he was not present in Vladivostok for official travel purposes.

According to Melody Jones, the mother of the soldier, her son was in Russia visiting his girlfriend.

Melody Jones pleaded that the Russians should refrain from torturing or hurting him.

According to National Security Council spokesman John Kirby, the United States has knowledge of the case involving the detention of a soldier in Russia over the weekend. However, Kirby mentioned that he is unable to provide further details at this time. This information was initially reported by NBC News.

The U.S. has been making continuous efforts to secure the release of two other Americans who are currently being held in Russia, despite their belief that they are wrongfully detained.

Paul Whelan, a former Marine, has been held in custody in Russia since 2018 on accusations of spying, which the U.S. and his family have denounced as unfounded. In 2020, he was convicted and sentenced to 16 years in prison.

In March 2023, Evan Gershkovich, a journalist for the Wall Street Journal, was imprisoned on espionage charges that the U.S., his family, and his employer all believe to be without foundation. Currently, he is awaiting trial.

In December, the State Department revealed that Russia turned down a “significant” proposal for the release of the individuals.

The United States has been issuing warnings to Americans for several months, advising them against traveling to Russia. They have also been urging U.S. citizens residing in the country to leave as soon as possible. In a travel advisory update in September, it was emphasized that Americans traveling to Russia could potentially be targeted for detention by Russian government security officials. The U.S. Embassy in Russia has also noted that their ability to assist U.S. citizens in the country is limited.

“We are fully committed to assisting U.S. citizens who are detained abroad and providing them with the necessary support,” stated a spokesperson from the State Department on Monday. The statement confirmed that a U.S. citizen had been detained in Russia, emphasizing the seriousness with which they take their responsibility to aid American citizens in such situations.

The spokesperson emphasized the importance of U.S. citizens either in Russia or planning to travel to the country to depart without delay.

The spokesperson emphasized their concerns once again regarding the potential risks faced by American citizens residing in Russia.

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