US Soldier Arrested in Russia Pleads Guilty

Gordon Black, a U.S. serviceman who was detained this month during an unauthorized visit to Vladivostok, Russia, has “admitted guilt” to theft charges, Russia’s state-run media reported on Thursday.

“We confirm. He is cooperating [with the investigation]; he admitted [guilt],” a representative of the regional interior ministry of Primorsky Krai, a federal subject of Russia, told news agency RIA Novosti.

“Communication takes place with the help of an English translator,” Irina Syrova, a representative from the department, told Russian newspaper Kommersant.

Newsweek has contacted the U.S. State Department for comment by email.

Police officers in Russia
Police officers secure the courtyard of the tribunal in Kirov on July 18, 2013. Gordon Black, a U.S. serviceman who was detained this month during an unauthorized visit to Vladivostok, Russia, has “admitted guilt” to…


Black, 34, was arrested on May 2 and is charged with “theft causing significant damage.” He is being held in a pretrial detention center in Vladivostok, where he will remain until at least July 2. Black faces up to five years in prison.

The American soldier is accused of stealing from a 31-year-old resident of Vladivostok, with whom he was allegedly romantically involved.

Black had been stationed in South Korea and was supposed to return home to Fort Cavazos in Texas when he traveled to the far-eastern port city of Vladivostok to see his girlfriend, family members told The Washington Post.

NBC News said that Black made the trip to Russia without receiving approval from his superiors.

Russian media reported that Black’s alleged girlfriend reported the Army staff sergeant to police for allegedly beating her and stealing 200,000 rubles [about $2,198].

A State Department spokesperson confirmed to Newsweek on May 7 that “a U.S. citizen has been detained in Russia.”

The spokesperson added: “Due to privacy and other considerations, we have no further details to provide at this time.”

A number of U.S. citizens are detained in Russia, including journalist Evan Gershkovich and former Marine and computer security official Paul Whelan.

The State Department warns all Americans against traveling to Russia due to the ongoing war in Ukraine, and says that those that do “exercise increased caution due to the risk of wrongful detentions.”

“Do not travel to Russia due to the unpredictable consequences of the unprovoked full-scale invasion of Ukraine by Russian military forces, the potential for harassment and the singling out of U.S. citizens for detention by Russian government security officials, the arbitrary enforcement of local law, limited flights into and out of Russia, the Embassy’s limited ability to assist U.S. citizens in Russia, and the possibility of terrorism,” a U.S. travel warning states.

“U.S. citizens residing or traveling in Russia should depart immediately,” the warning adds.

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