U.S. Soldier Arrested in Russia Last Week: Army

Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP via Getty Images
Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP via Getty Images

A U.S. soldier was detained in Russia last week, the Army confirmed on Monday.

The service member, an unidentified male staff sergeant stationed in South Korea, had traveled to Russia on his own, three U.S. officials told NBC News, which first reported the detention.

Cynthia O. Smith, an Army spokesperson, told The Daily Beast that the soldier had been detained in far east city of Vladivostok on Thursday on charges of criminal misconduct.

“The Russian Federation notified the U.S. Department of State of the criminal detention in accordance with the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations,” Smith said. “The Army notified his family and the U.S. Department of State is providing appropriate consular support to the Soldier in Russia.

“Given the sensitivity of this matter, we are unable to provide additional details at this time,” she added.

When asked about NBC’s report, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said the White House was “aware of this case,” according to Agence France-Presse.

The Daily Beast has contacted the U.S. Army for more information.

The exact number of Americans jailed in Russia is unclear, but two of the most high-profile cases are that of Paul Whelan and Evan Gershkovich.

Whelan, a former U.S. Marine accused of spying, has been detained for more than five years, and received a 16-year prison sentence in 2020. Gershkovich, a Wall Street Journal reporter, was arrested and similarly accused of espionage last March.

The U.S. considers both men to have been wrongfully detained.

In Feb. 2022, the WNBA player Brittney Griner was detained flying into Russia after customs officials found two vape cartridges in her luggage containing less than a gram of cannabis oil. Though she was sentenced to nine years in prison on what was widely considered to be a trumped-up charge of drug smuggling, Griner was freed in a prisoner swap ten months after her arrest.

A book about the experience, Coming Home, hits shelves on Tuesday.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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