Russia Confirms Capture of American Soldier

( – Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government has captured and held many Americans in the past. Most notably, he held a WNBA basketball player, Brittney Griner, for months. His government has also held several American service members. Now, the adversarial nation has a US Army soldier.

On Monday, May 6, Cynthia O. Smith, a spokesperson for the US Army, announced the military branch notified the family of Staff Sgt. Gordon Black that he was being held in Russia. The 34-year-old was reportedly returning home to Fort Cavazos in Texas from South Korea when he traveled to Russia on his own.

Black traveled to Vladivostok to meet a woman he was reportedly romantically involved with. While there, he was apprehended by Russian authorities on May 2 after being accused of stealing from a woman. It’s not clear if the allegations involved the woman he was seeing, or if it was someone else.

The Russian government notified the US State Department of Black’s “criminal detention.” US authorities told NBC News that the soldier had traveled to the foreign country without permission from his superiors.

Smith told the press that Black was charged with “criminal misconduct” by Russian authorities. He’s being held in pre-trial detention. She went on to say the military would not be able to give additional information at this time. However, she made it clear the US State Department is “providing appropriate consular support to the Soldier in Russia.”

Black’s arrest is the latest in a string of apprehensions by the Russian government in recent years. The detentions have increased tensions with the US. Currently, Russia is holding Paul Whelan, a former US Marine. He is serving a 16-year sentence for espionage charges. America has described the charges as being trumped up.

Russian authorities are also holding Evan Gershkovich, a reporter for The Wall Street Journal, on espionage charges. His employer has rejected those claims. He’s been there for more than a year.

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