US Army Officer Arrested During Secret Russia Trip

( – The Bureau of Consular Affairs with the US Department of State issues travel advisories for countries all over the world in an effort to keep Americans safe. The notices use a four-tiered rating system, with the first level warning travelers to use caution and the last warning citizens not to travel to the region. The advisory for Russia is at the highest level.

On May 6, the US Army confirmed that Staff Sergeant Gordon Black traveled to the city of Vladivostok in Russia and was recently arrested. The service member was stationed in South Korea but was on his way home to Texas when he decided to stop in Russia to visit his girlfriend. Army spokesperson Cynthia Smith said Black was charged with criminal misconduct and that the Russian government had informed the US of the detention, who told the soldier’s family.

The girlfriend reportedly lived in South Korea in the fall of 2023, when she got into a domestic dispute with Black. She then left the country to go back to Russia. The US soldier apparently decided to travel there without authorization from his unit, although the Army said he was on his personal time.

Deputy Press Secretary Sabrina Singh from the Pentagon recently held a news conference where she was asked about Black’s situation. She said the “Army is looking into” it. Army spokesperson Cynthia O. Smith confirmed that Black didn’t have clearance to travel to Russia, stating he flew from South Korea through China and into Russia “for personal reasons.”

According to a Russian court, the soldier is expected to be held in custody for at least two months. A spokeswoman for the court, Elena Oleneva, clarified the charges against Black, stating he was under arrest for “secretly stealing property” and causing “significant damage.” The Russian Foreign Ministry’s mission in Vladivostok confirmed the arrest had nothing to do with “politics or espionage.”

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