US soldier pleads guilty in theft case: Russian media

An American solider imprisoned in Russia on charges of stealing from his girlfriend in Russia pleaded guilty to theft, Russian media reported.

The soldier, Staff Sgt. Gordon Black, was arrested in Vladivostok, Russia, on May 2 and placed in pre-trial detention. A Russian court ordered him to remain in custody at least until July.

Black admitted guilt and is cooperating with the investigation with the help of an English translator, Russian state-run media outlet Tass reported Wednesday, citing a representative of law enforcement agencies.

“He admitted guilt and is cooperating with the investigation. The investigation into the criminal case continues,” the Ministry of Internal Affairs for the Primorsky Territory told news outlet Interfax.

Black, 34, was stationed at Camp Humphreys in South Korea before making an unauthorized trip to Russia. The U.S. Department of Defense said he was processed out of the South Korea station on April 10 and was leaving to be stationed in Texas when he made the trip to Russia for “personal reasons.”

In an interview with NBC News, his mother said she thinks he was lured to Russia by his girlfriend, Aleskandra Vashchuk, where he was set up.

The couple reportedly had a conflict when he arrived in Russia, and his girlfriend discovered money was missing and turned to law enforcement for help, Tass said.

The U.S. Army has opened an administrative investigation into Black’s travel.

The Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry office said Black’s detention has nothing to do with politics or espionage, but the U.S. Defense Department said is investigating the circumstances of his arrest.

The Hill has reached out to the White House, Pentagon and State Department for comment on the Russian media reports.

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