A U.S. soldier was arrested on May 2 over accusations he committed theft, three U.S. officials told NBC News.

The unnamed soldier was stationed in South Korea and had traveled to Russia on unofficial business, and was subsequently detained after being accused of stealing from a woman, the three officials told NBC News. It isn’t clear whether the charges have merit; he is currently being held in pre-trial suspension, two U.S. officials told CNN.

The Pentagon directed the Daily Caller News Foundation to the U.S. Army for comment. The U.S. Army did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

 

“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,” U.S. Army spokeswoman Cynthia Smith confirmed to the Daily Caller News Foundation in a statement on Monday.

“The Army notified his family and the U.S. Department of State is providing appropriate consular support to the Soldier in Russia.  Given the sensitivity of this matter, we are unable to provide additional details at this time,” Smith told the DCNF.

“I can’t really say much about it right now… We are aware of this case,” White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters on Monday.

Russia has arrested and detained several U.S. citizens on prior occasions, some of whom are still being held in the country today. Former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan was wrongfully arrested in Russia on espionage charges in 2018 and is currently serving out a 16-year prison sentence; he has expressed concerns that he fears being left behind and forgotten by the Biden administration.

WNBA player Brittney Griner was arrested in Russia in early 2022 for marijuana possession, but released after ten months in a prisoner swap that saw the release of Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, known as the “Merchant of Death.” The Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich was detained in Yekaterinburg in 2023 on similar charges to Whelan’s, as Moscow claimed he had been caught “red-handed” attempting to spy “in the interests of the American government;” Gershkovich remains in pre-trial detention.

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