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American soldier detained in Russia traveled without authorization, says US

An American soldier who was detained in Russia traveled to the city of Vladivostok, passing through China, without authorization from the military, the US Army said on Tuesday (7).

Criminal cases against Americans in Russia have gained diplomatic importance in recent years, including a drug case against basketball star Brittney Griner, who was released last year in a prisoner exchange.

Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich has been arrested on espionage charges, which he and the newspaper deny.

The soldier, who the Army identified as Sergeant Gordon Black, was arrested on robbery charges by a court in Vladivostok, in Russia's Far East, the Interior Ministry's regional office said in a statement on Tuesday (7).

Black, who enlisted in the Army as a soldier in 2008, had recently been assigned to Camp Humphreys in South Korea and was scheduled to return to Fort Cavazos in Texas, according to the U.S. Army statement.

“Instead of returning to the United States, Black flew from Incheon, South Korea, via China to Vladivostok, Russia, for personal reasons,” US officials added.

The Army said there is no evidence that Black planned to stay in Russia after his leave ended.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said there was no political element to the case or allegations of espionage.

(Reporting by Idrees Ali and Phil Stewart, additional reporting by Susan Heavey)

Source: CNN Brasil

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