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Russia Arrests U.S. Army Soldier on Theft Charges

Gordon Black.

Updated with White House comments.

Russia said Tuesday that it will hold an American soldier who was detained in the Far East over the weekend in custody until early July on theft charges.

The U.S. Army said the soldier, identified by a Russian court in the city of Vladivostok as Gordon Black, had been detained on criminal charges but withheld details citing the sensitivity of the case.

The detention of Black adds to the number of Americans held in Russia at a time of deep tensions with Washington over Moscow's full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

A Russian court spokeswoman said Black, who was detained on May 2, would be held until July 2 for theft, according to comments carried by the state-run RIA Novosti news agency.

The Russian tabloid Izvestia and the Baza Telegram news channel, which is suspected to have connections to law enforcement agencies, said Black had beaten his Russian girlfriend during a visit to Vladivostok and stolen money and alcohol from her.

NBC News said the American soldier traveled to Russia on his own and was not there on official business.

White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said late Monday that Washington was aware of Black's arrest in Russia.

Russian authorities have arrested several U.S. citizens in recent years, with critics accusing Moscow of using detainees as bargaining chips in exchange for Russians jailed in the West.

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