US soldier was arrested in Russia last week

An American soldier was detained in Russia last week on suspicion of theft and is currently being held in pre-trial detention, according to two US officials.

The soldier’s name is Gordon Black, according to one of the officials. The US Army would not confirm the soldier’s name but noted their family has been notified.

The soldier, a staff sergeant, was arrested on May 2 by Russian authorities, the officials said. He was stationed in South Korea and traveled to Russia of his own volition, the officials said.

An Army spokesperson confirmed on Monday that the soldier was detained by Russian authorities in Vladivostok “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,” said spokesperson Cynthia Smith. “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.”

The arrest comes at time of huge tension between the US and Russia as the war with Ukraine continues. There are a number of Americans being held in Russia, including two who have been declared as wrongfully detained by the US State Department – Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich and former Marine Paul Whelan.

The soldier was stationed in South Korea when he took leave to travel to Russia on his own, according to another US official. He was not AWOL, or absent without leave, at the time of the trip, the source said.

He was then set to move to Ft. Cavazos in Texas in the future, the official said, but was unable to provide a specific date for the change of station.

NBC News was first to report the arrest.

A State Department official confirmed that a US citizen had been detained in Russia but would not provide further details.

“We have no higher priority than the safety and security of US citizens overseas,” the spokesperson said.

The US Embassy in Moscow is seeking consular access to the soldier, the officials said.

The US has repeatedly warned American citizens not to travel to Russia. In February, after the arrest of dual Russian-American citizen Ksenia Karelina, the strategic communications coordinator for the National Security Council John Kirby reiterated the warning about the “danger posed to US citizens inside Russia.”

“It goes without saying, if you’re a US citizen or you have a US passport, and you haven’t traveled to Russia but you’re considering going, we obviously urge you not to do that,” Kirby said.

Last July, another soldier stationed in South Korea willingly crossed into North Korea where he was immediately detained. Pvt. Travis King had been on a border tour of a civilian area when he ran across the Joint Security Area (JSA) and into North Korea.

King was supposed to have boarded a flight back to the United States to face disciplinary procedures. But after Army escorts released him at a security checkpoint at Incheon International Airport near Seoul, King left the airport on his own.

It took weeks of secretive and intense diplomacy involving multiple countries to secure King’s release in September. He was charged with desertion in October.

CNN’s Jennifer Hansler and Kylie Atwood contributed to this report.

This story is breaking and will be updated.

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