May 30, 2024

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7:15 a.m. ET, May 16, 2024

Russian state media reported that the American soldier detained in Russia had “pleaded guilty.”

From CNN’s Radina Jegova and the Moscow team

US soldier Gordon Black, who was arrested in Russia on suspicion of theft, has “pleaded guilty” and is cooperating with the investigation, Russian state news agency TASS reported Thursday, citing law enforcement agencies.

A law enforcement representative told TASS: “The accused has pleaded guilty and is cooperating with the investigation. This is happening in English through an interpreter.”

Sgt. The Pervomaisky District Court in Vladivostok said Gordon Black was arrested in Vladivostok on May 2. He is accused of “committing secret theft” of property and causing “serious damage.”

Black remains in pre-trial detention as authorities assess whether he has been provided with everything he needs, including access to a lawyer, head of the regional Public Control Commission (ONC) Vladimir Naydin told TASS.

Black was stationed in South Korea, and after completing his service, he went to Vladivostok to visit a Russian woman with whom he had a romantic relationship, according to TASS. He was arrested at a time when tensions between the United States and Russia were rising as the war in Ukraine continued. However, a representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry told TASS that the case “is not related to politics or espionage.”

The US State Department confirmed at the time of his arrest that an American citizen was being held in Russia. “We have no higher priority than the safety and security of American citizens abroad,” a State Department spokesperson said at the time. Several other Americans are also being detained in Russia, including two who the US State Department has declared wrongly detained – Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich and former Marine Paul Whelan.

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