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US soldier detained in Russia pleads partially guilty in court, local media reports

Written by on June 17, 2024

(VLADIVOSTOK, Russia) — U.S. Army service member Gordon Black, who has been detained in Russia since early May, pleaded partially guilty to charges of theft during the second hearing of his ongoing trial in the Primorsky Court, Russian media reported Monday.

Black, 35, admitted to theft, but he did not admit to the charges of assault or threat to kill, according to Russian media.

In May, Black was detained in Vladivostok, Russia, in the Primorsky territory — which borders North Korea and China — on charges of criminal misconduct, the U.S. Army previously said.

Black had been visiting his girlfriend in Russia and the two had a disagreement, Russian media reported. “After Black left, his friend discovered the missing money and turned to law enforcement for help,” TASS, a Russian outlet, reported last month. “The police found the suspect in the theft in one of the city hotels.”

During his hearing Monday, Black said he was invited to Russia by Aleksandra Vaschuk, and he went here to be with her, according to local Russian media. He did not plan to steal 10,000 rubles from her, he said, per the report. He wanted to return it before leaving and even transferred the money through an acquaintance, which he transferred to her the next morning after the incident, Black said in his testimony during the hearing Monday, the outlet reported.

Two U.S. officials told ABC News in May that Black, a staff sergeant, had been stationed in South Korea before going on temporary leave. He was not granted permission to travel to Russia, the officials said

Black admitted guilt on a theft charge and was cooperating with the investigation, a Russian official confirmed to ABC News in mid-May.

Black’s next court hearing in the trial is scheduled for Wednesday, June 19, at 10 a.m. local time.

ABC News’ Ellie Kaufman, Kevin Shalvey, Joe Simonetti, Leah Sarnoff, Mark Guarino and Anne Flaherty contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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