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US soldier arrested in Far Eastern Russian city

A married American serviceman was detained for allegedly beating his girlfriend in Vladivostok

A US Army sergeant Gordon Black was detained in Russia’s Far Eastern port city of Vladivostok on suspicion of beating and robbing a Russian woman he was romantically involved with, according to the Izvestia newspaper.

An American soldier was being held by Russian authorities “on charges of criminal misconduct” since last Thursday, NBC News reported on Monday. “The Russian Federation notified the US Department of State of the criminal detention in accordance with the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations,” US Army spokesperson Cynthia Smith said in a statement, adding that he was receiving consular support from the US Department of State.

US officials identified the man as Staff Sergeant Gordon Black, 34, who was stationed in South Korea and was on leave at the time of the incident. According to the Associated Press, he was supposed to redeploy back home to Fort Cavazos in Texas. However, along the way, he took a detour through Russia, without notifying his superiors.

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Black, a married man, allegedly met a Russian woman who had lived in South Korea at some point while he was serving in the country. According to AP’s sources, they had a domestic dispute roughly half a year ago, after which she left for Vladivostok.

The couple originally met each other through the internet, and Black followed the woman to Vladivostok on his own initiative, according to Russian newspaper Izvestia.

“He stayed with her for a while. At some point he began beating and strangling her. In the end he stole 200,000 rubles ($2,200) and some alcohol” before he left, the paper wrote on Monday, quoting an anonymous source.

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“It’s a domestic violence case, law enforcement are dealing with it,” Russian news agency RIA Novosti wrote on Tuesday, quoting a separate source.

Both Russian and the US authorities have warned their respective citizens against traveling to each other’s countries. Russia’s Foreign Ministry told Russians to exercise “extreme caution” when planning trips outside the country, as the US has extradition treaties with over 100 countries. Despite the rising tensions, the two countries exchanged high-profile prisoners in 2022, when Russian businessman Viktor Bout was swapped for US basketball player Brittney Griner.

May 07, 2024 at 09:49AM

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