Skip to content

American soldier detained in Russia on criminal misconduct charges

American soldier detained in Russia on criminal misconduct charges
By Yagiz Efe Parmaksiz
May 7, 2024 1:14 AM

American soldier, identified as a staff sergeant, is detained by Russian authorities in Vladivostok, Russia, on charges of “criminal misconduct.”

US Army revealed on Monday that an American soldier, whose identity has not been made public, was detained last week by Russian officials on suspicions of “criminal misconduct.” 

The event adds to the rising number of Americans imprisoned in Russia, heightening tensions between Moscow and Washington, especially in the context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Cynthia Smith, a spokesperson for the US Army, confirmed the imprisonment, saying, “On May 2, 2024, Russian authorities in Vladivostok, Russia, detained an American soldier on charges of criminal misconduct.”

Smith also stated that the US State Department was contacted and is providing necessary consular assistance to the soldiers in Russia. The soldier’s family is also aware of the issue.

Smith refuses to disclose any information at this time due to the sensitivity of the matter.

When asked about the claims, John Kirby, spokesperson for the US National Security Council, admitted to being aware of the soldier’s imprisonment.

According to NBC News, the soldier visited Russia on his own and was not on official assignment. The soldier, identified as a staff sergeant, was apparently detained on suspicion of stealing and is now in pre-trial prison, according to CNN.

This event is identical to one that occurred less than a year ago when Travis King traveled to North Korea in July and was imprisoned until his deportation in September. He was then charged with desertion.

In recent years, Russian authorities have jailed a number of US nationals, raising claims that Moscow is using captives as negotiating chips to secure the release of Russians imprisoned in the US.

In Dec. 2022, Russian authorities freed American basketball player Brittney Griner in exchange for Viktor Bout, a notorious Russian arms dealer known as the “Merchant of Death.”

Other Americans are still being kept in Russian custody, and efforts are ongoing to free them. Among them is Paul Whelan, a former US Marine who was sentenced to 16 years in jail in 2020 on espionage accusations that he denies.

In a separate incident, 32-year-old Wall Street Journal writer Evan Gershkovich was jailed on espionage accusations in late March 2023, making him the first Western journalist to face such claims in Russia since the Soviet period. Gershkovich and his business, as well as US officials, have strongly refuted the allegations.

Alsu Kurmasheva, a journalist and dual citizen of the United States and Russia, was detained in October on allegations of failing to register as a “foreign agent,” as required by Russian authorities.

Source: AFP

Last Updated:  Jun 3, 2024 4:58 PM