NewsU.S. Army staff sergeant detained in Russia over alleged robbery, love gone awry

U.S. Army staff sergeant detained in Russia over alleged robbery, love gone awry

American soldier detained in Russia. We know what he was doing there.
American soldier detained in Russia. We know what he was doing there.
Images source: © East News | Tomasz Jastrzebowski/REPORTER

11:07 AM EDT, May 8, 2024

Gordon Black, a 36-year-old staff sergeant in the United States Army, was detained in Vladivostok on May 1st. Cynthia Smith, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Army, initially reported that Black was suspected of committing a crime. Reports suggest he traveled to Russia to visit a girlfriend he met while serving in Korea.

The case involves Black, who had served in South Korea and subsequently went to Russia under contentious circumstances, supposedly to "rob a woman." It later emerged that the American soldier had developed a relationship with a Russian woman in Seoul.

Following a dispute, she returned to Vladivostok, and Black, without his superiors' consent, went after her. Officially, he was meant to return to Texas, where he was stationed, but ended up being arrested in Russia for allegedly "robbing his partner."

Black's mother spoke with CBS News, confirming her son visited Vladivostok to see his girlfriend. She appealed to the Russian authorities, urging, "Please do not torture him [or] hurt him."

Soldier acknowledges Russia's stance

Radio Free Europe uncovered posts by Black's girlfriend, Aleksandra Vashchuk, on TikTok. In her videos featuring Black, she asked him about USA-Russia relations, to which he replied that he understood Russia's desire to defend its nation. Vashchuk, known for lauding Russian aggression online, also preferred Donald Trump over Joe Biden, while Black criticized NATO as "aggressive."

Following their breakup in 2023, Vashchuk erased Black's images from her social media, as Radio Free Europe reported.

The U.S. authorities announced on Monday that Russian officials notified them about the detention of a man suspected of theft. However, they refrained from revealing his identity or providing case specifics.

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