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Gordon Black, US soldier imprisoned in Russia, pleads guilty to theft, Russian state media says

Staff Sgt. Gordon BlackA US soldier imprisoned in the Russian city of Vladivostok has pleaded guilty to theft charges and is cooperating with investigators in the case, Russian state media said Thursday.

“He is cooperating, he admitted (his guilt),” the RIA news agency quoted a representative of the local Interior Ministry as saying.

CBS News was unable to obtain contact information for lawyers representing black people in Russia, and it was not possible to verify information reported by Russian state media.

Gordon Black, a US soldier detained in Russia, poses for a selfie in a file photo obtained from social media.
Gordon Black, a US soldier detained in Russia, poses for a selfie in a file photo obtained from social media.

Gordon Black via Facebook via Reuters

Black was arrested in Vladivostok on May 2 and accused of stealing from a woman with whom he was in a relationship. A court ordered that he remain in detention until at least July 2.

Black was stationed in Korea, Pentagon officials told CBS News, and was in the process of changing duty stations to Fort Cavazos, formerly known as Fort Hoodin the United States when he visited Russia on an unofficial trip.

The soldier’s mother, Melody Jones, said he was in Russia visiting his girlfriend.

“Please don’t torture him (or) harm him,” Jones said when asked about his message to the Russians.

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters earlier this month that the United States was “aware of this matter” but that he could not “say much about it For now”.

The U.S. government has repeatedly warned Americans not to travel to Russia, citing “the potential for harassment and detention of U.S. citizens by Russian government security officials” and other factors.

Paul Whelan, imprisoned in Russia, appeals to Biden: ‘He’s the man who can take me home’


The Biden administration is working to secure the release of two more Americans it believes are wrongly detained in Russia. Paul Whelan, a former Marine, has been imprisoned since 2018 on espionage charges, which the United States and his family say is completely unfounded. He was sentenced to 16 years in prison in 2020.

Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovitch was imprisoned in March 2023, also on espionage charges denied by his family, the newspaper and the US government. He is still awaiting trial.

The State Department said in December that Russia had rejected an “important” proposal for the release of the two men.

A Friend of Evan Gershkovich Discusses Efforts to Bring Him Home


An updated travel advisory, issued in September, said the U.S. Embassy in Moscow had “limited capacity to assist U.S. citizens in Russia.”

Separately, an American citizen identified by Russian authorities as Nikum William Russell was sentenced to 10 days in prison. penalty for “petty hooliganism” after a court said he accidentally walked into a children’s library in Moscow and passed out half-naked.

Camilla Schick and Arden Farhi contributed to this report.


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