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US Soldier Gordon D. Black Detained in Russia Accused of Theft

Staff Sgt. Gordon D. Black finds himself at the center of a brewing international incident after his reported arrest in Vladivostok, Russia, on May 2. The US soldier, accused of theft, was taken into custody in the Pacific port city, situated near the borders of North Korea and China, as confirmed by US officials.

Black's journey to Russia appears to have been personal rather than official military business, as per NBC News. Formerly stationed in South Korea, he was reportedly in the process of transitioning to Fort Cavazos in Texas.

Allegations surfaced that Black traveled to Russia without proper authorization from his superiors, landing him in pretrial confinement. His mother, Melody Jones, expressed concern for his well-being, insisting that his purpose in Russia was to visit his girlfriend and pleaded for his humane treatment.

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Acknowledging the incident, US Army officials released a statement affirming their awareness of Black's detention and the involvement of Russian authorities. They assured that appropriate consular support was being extended to Black in accordance with diplomatic protocols outlined in the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.

While specifics surrounding Black's case remain scarce due to its sensitive nature, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby confirmed the Biden administration's awareness during a briefing, declining to delve further into details.

Black's situation echoes past instances of Americans entangled in legal disputes within Russia. Just a month prior, Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich faced espionage charges after his March 2023 arrest. Similarly, in 2018, Paul Whelan received a 16-year prison sentence on accusations of espionage, which the US government and Whelan's family vehemently refuted.

Notably, sports figures have also faced legal challenges in Russia. WNBA star Brittney Griner was detained for allegedly possessing a cannabis oil cartridge in her luggage, while former ballerina Ksenia Karelina was arrested over allegations of supporting a charity aiding Ukraine during her transit from Los Angeles to Russia.

May 7, 2024 3:49 p.m. 4546

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