US soldier Gordon D. Black to spend almost 4 years in Russian penal colony, what are the charges against him? - Hindustan Times
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US soldier Gordon D. Black to spend almost 4 years in Russian penal colony, what are the charges against him?

BySumanti Sen
Jun 19, 2024 01:01 PM IST

Staff Sgt. Gordon D. Black was arrested on May 2 in the Pacific port city of Vladivostok.

A US soldier who had been arrested and was being held in Russia on charges of stealing and threatening to kill his girlfriend was found guilty on Wednesday, June 19. Staff Sgt. Gordon D. Black, who was arrested on May 2 in the Pacific port city of Vladivostok, has been sentenced to three years and nine months in a Russian penal colony, Russian agencies have confirmed.

US soldier Gordon D. Black sentenced to almost 4 years in Russian penal colony (REUTERS/Tatiana Meel)(REUTERS)
US soldier Gordon D. Black sentenced to almost 4 years in Russian penal colony (REUTERS/Tatiana Meel)(REUTERS)

On Monday, June 17, Black pleaded not guilty on charges of threatening to kill his girlfriend, Alexandra Vashchuk. However, he said he was “partially” guilty of stealing from her.

RIA agency reported that Black’s defence lawyer has decided to appeal the verdict. The judge has, as of now, handed down the sentence of “imprisonment of three years and nine months” for both charges.

Prosecutors had initially demanded that Black be given a prison sentence of four years and eight months. However, the defence said that he must be acquitted of all charges.

Gordon D. Black’s relationship with his girlfriend

Black “partially” acknowledged that he stole 10,000 roubles ($113) from Vashchuk’s purse but said that “there was no intent.” He met his girlfriend in South Korea while he was stationed there. Black has a wife and a child, who live in Texas.

The Pentagon has accused Black of breaking several rules by Russia without authorization, and passing through China. Last month, his wife Megan told Reuters that he and Vashchuk did not have a healthy relationship. Melody Jones, Black’s mother, said that Vashchuk and her son “fought like cats and dogs,” but he still followed her to Russia.

US Army officials previously told The Mirror, "On May, 2, 2024, Russian authorities in Vladivostok, Russia, detained an American Soldier on charges of criminal misconduct. The Russian Federation notified the U.S. Department of State of the criminal detention in accordance with the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. The Army notified his family and the U.S. Department of State is providing appropriate consular support to the Soldier in Russia."

White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby also confirmed in the past that the Biden administration is aware of the incident.

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