U.S. Soldier Makes Critical Mistake

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A U.S. Army Soldier, Gordon Black, has made the critical mistake of going to Russia. Despite a formal ban from the Pentagon, this soldier decided to go to Russia to pursue his girlfriend.

Black, who is married and was having an affair, was arrested in Russia on theft charges. Whether this was genuine or a setup is unconfirmed. NBC News says:

The worried mother of a U.S. soldier in Russian custody said Wednesday that her son “was lured” there by a Russian woman he had been seeing in South Korea for over a year and that he’s being held on trumped-up charges of stealing roughly $100 from her.

Melody Jones said she thinks her son, Staff Sgt. Gordon Black, was set up by his girlfriend, whom she identified as Aleksandra Vashchuk.

Black’s arrest is complicating negotiations between the US and Russia over the war in Russia. A number of Americans are already imprisoned in Russia, some on legitimate charges and others on trumped up ones. Regardless, the legal and prison system in Russia have made it difficult to tell which is which, and has denied Americans basic rights. The Washington Post continues:

Russian courts often prolong pretrial detention periods. For example, American journalist Evan Gershkovich of the Wall Street Journal, who was arrested while on assignment in the Urals city of Yekaterinburg last year and charged with spying, has been jailed in Lefortovo high-security prison for more than a year. Gershkovich, his employer and U.S. officials vehemently deny the charges against him. But Russian courts have repeatedly prolonged his detention and denied his appeals to be released.

Black’s arrest potentially complicates difficult back-channel negotiations between Washington and Moscow over the release of Americans held by Russia. Western officials have cited a growing Russian practice of hostage diplomacy — imprisoning Americans as bargaining chips to be used in prisoner exchanges.

American cannot compete with Russia in terms of escalating prison sentences and arrests of Russian nationals. America may have to put Black’s imprisonment on the back burner, as it did with Bowe Bergdahl.

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