U.S. Soldier Arrested in Russia Last Week: Reports

The White House said it was “aware” of the case, in which the soldier, a staff sergeant, reportedly traveled to Russia on his own after being stationed in Korea.Updated May 06, 2024 4:30PM EDT / Published May 06, 2024 3:35PM EDT Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP via Getty ImagesA U.S. soldier was detained in Russia last week, according to multiple reports on Monday.The service member

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The White House said it was “aware” of the case, in which the soldier, a staff sergeant, reportedly traveled to Russia on his own after being stationed in Korea.

AJ McDougall

Kremlin tower through a fence on the empty Red Square in central Moscow

Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP via Getty Images

A U.S. soldier was detained in Russia last week, according to multiple reports on Monday.

The service member, an unidentified male staff sergeant stationed in South Korea, had traveled to Russia on his own, three U.S. officials told NBC News, which first reported the Thursday detention. He is reportedly being held on suspicion of theft.

Sources familiar with the matter soon confirmed it to several other outlets. Officials told ABC News that the soldier’s family had been notified, while CNN reported that the U.S. Embassy in Moscow was trying to get access to him.

When asked about NBC’s report, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said the White House was “aware of this case,” according to Agence France-Presse.

The Daily Beast has contacted the U.S. Army for more information.

The exact number of Americans jailed in Russia is unclear, but two of the most high-profile cases are that of Paul Whelan and Evan Gershkovich.

Whelan, a former U.S. Marine accused of spying, has been detained for more than five years, and received a 16-year prison sentence in 2020. Gershkovich, a Wall Street Journal reporter, was arrested and similarly accused of espionage last March.

The U.S. considers both men to have been wrongfully detained.

In Feb. 2022, the WNBA player Brittney Griner was detained flying into Russia after customs officials found two vape cartridges in her luggage containing less than a gram of cannabis oil. Though she was sentenced to nine years in prison on what was widely considered to be a trumped-up charge of drug smuggling, Griner was freed in a prisoner swap ten months after her arrest.

A book about the experience, Coming Home, hits shelves on Tuesday.

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