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Russia advances in Ukraine as Putin meets Xi in China

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

“The accused admitted guilt and is cooperating with the investigation. This happens in English through an interpreter,” a law enforcement representative told TASS.

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

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

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

At the time of his arrest, the US State Department confirmed that a US citizen was detained in Russia. “We have no higher priority than the safety and security of U.S. citizens overseas,” a State department spokesperson said at the time. Several other Americans are also being held in Russia, including two who have been declared as wrongfully detained by the US State Department – Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich and former Marine Paul Whelan.

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