United States: American soldier detained in Russia for “criminal offense”

United States: American soldier detained in Russia for “criminal offense”
United States: American soldier detained in Russia for “criminal offense”

US soldier detained in Russia for ‘criminal offense’

Published today at 11:09 p.m.

An American soldier has been detained since Thursday in Russia, where he is accused of “criminal offense,” a spokesperson for the US Army announced Monday.

“On May 2, 2024, Russian authorities in Vladivostok, Russia, arrested an American soldier on criminal charges,” Cynthia Smith said, adding that the soldier’s family had been notified and that a consular support was provided to him.

“Due to the sensitivity of the matter, we are unable to provide further details at this time,” she added. Earlier, the White House said it was “aware” of the detention of an American soldier in Russia.

Suspicions of theft

“We are aware of this matter,” said John Kirby, a spokesman for the National Security Council. He was responding to reports from NBC News that a soldier deployed to South Korea traveled to Russia on his own, where he was arrested.

The soldier, a sergeant, was arrested Thursday on suspicion of theft and is currently in pre-trial detention, according to CNN. In recent years, several American citizens have been arrested and given long sentences in Russia.

Washington, which has supported Ukraine against the Russian army for two years, accuses Moscow of wanting to exchange them for Russians detained in the United States.

Two journalists still detained

Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who also worked for AFP in Moscow in the past, was arrested by the Russian security services (FSB) during a report in Yekaterinburg, in the Urals, there is more than a year old, in March 2023.

He is accused of espionage, a crime punishable by 20 years in prison, a sentence of unprecedented severity since the end of the USSR for a foreign journalist. He rejects these accusations, as do the United States, his newspaper, his loved ones and his family.

Russia has never substantiated its accusations or publicly provided evidence. The entire procedure is classified secret. A Russian-American journalist, Alsu Kurmasheva, working for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), has also been in detention since October 2023 for failing to register as a “foreign agent” as ‘demand the authorities.


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