Russian court says detained US Army soldier will be held until July for allegedly causing ‘significant damage’

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Russian authorities have revealed that an American soldier being held on a theft charge in which he allegedly caused “significant damage” will remain in pretrial detention until July 2. 

Staff Sgt. Gordon Black, who enlisted in the Army as an infantryman in 2008, and most recently, was assigned to the Eighth Army U.S. Forces Korea at Camp Humphreys in South Korea, traveled to Vladivostok, Russia “for personal reasons” prior to his arrest, the Pentagon says. 

The Pervomaisky District Court of Vladivostok said “When choosing the preventive measure in the form of detention, the court came to the conclusion that US citizen B. (Black) — under the weight of the charges — could hide from the preliminary investigation authorities and the court to avoid responsibility,” according to Reuters. 

It reportedly added that Black will be detained until July 2 for “secretly stealing the property of citizen T., causing the latter significant damage.” 

PENTAGON OFFICIALS SAY US ARMY SOLDIER DETAINED IN RUSSIA REMAINS IN PRETRIAL DETENTION FACILITY 

US army soldier Gordon Black

Gordon Black, a U.S. serviceman detained in Russia, poses for a selfie in this picture obtained from social media, in an unspecified location, released on February 2023.   (Gordon Black Via Facebook/Reuters)

Russian officials in Vladivostok said a 32-year-old woman had filed a complaint against the 34-year-old Black, Reuters also reports. 

The news agency cited the officials as saying that the pair met in South Korea before Black came to visit her in Russia, during which they became involved in an argument. She then reportedly filed a police report accusing him of stealing money and Black was taken into custody at a hotel. 

“On April 10, Black out-processed from Eighth Army and signed out on permanent change of station, to leave en route to Texas,” Pentagon Deputy Press Secretary Sabrina Singh said on Tuesday. “However, instead of returning to the U.S., Black flew from Korea through China, and then to Vladivostok, Russia, for personal reasons.” 

The Army opened an administrative investigation to determine the facts and circumstances around his travel, Singh noted, and part of the investigation will involve looking into consequences for his actions. 

“But, official or any leave to Russia is strictly prohibited, and that’s pursuant to the DoD [Department of Defense] foreign clearance guide, which, of course, is also informed by the State Department guidelines,” Singh said, adding that she believed the status was set to Category Four, which does not allow travel to Russia. 

FORMER ARMY SOLDIER CONVICTED OF MURDERING PREGNANT SOLDIER ON GERMANY BASE IN 2001 

Gordon Black in Iraq

A photo of U.S. Army soldier Gordon Black sending a holiday message from Iraq in 2009. (U.S. DoD)

On Tuesday, Black’s mother, Melody Jones, told ABC’s “Good Morning America” (GMA) that she believed her son was “set up” by the woman, described as his girlfriend. 

She told “GMA” her son met a Russian woman when she was tending bar near his Army base in South Korea, and she was later deported back to Russia. 

“I knew something was going to happen,” Jones told “GMA.” “I felt like he was being set up by her.” 

Jones described her son’s relationship with the Russian woman as “volatile,” and even suspected she might be a spy. She said she told her son not to travel to Russia when he was supposed to be returning home to the U.S. while on leave. 

The Russian city of Vladivostok

The Russian port city of Vladivostok, where American soldier Staff Sgt. Gordon Black was detained last Thursday. (Natalia Kolesnikova/AFP via Getty Images)

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Black deployed to Iraq from Oct. 2009 through Sept. 2010, and to Afghanistan from June 2013 until March 2014, Army spokeswoman Cynthia Smith also said.  

Fox News’ Greg Wehner, Pilar Arias and The Associated Press contributed to this report.  



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