Thu. Jun 13th, 2024

A US soldier detained in Russia has been accused by state prosecutor’s of threatening to kill his girlfriend.

Staff Sergeant Gordon D. Black was originally arrested close to the RussiaNorth Korea border on May 2 on suspicion of theft, but the charges against him have been toughened.

East2WestUS soldier Gordon D. Black is now facing new charges of threatening to murder his Russian girlfriend[/caption]

DOC/UNPIXSThe American was supposed to return to Texas but instead crossed into Russia[/caption]

East2WestBlack met his alleged lover Alexandra Vaschuk while on his posting to South Korea[/caption]

East2WestHe followed Vaschuk to her home city of Vladivostok where he was arrested on charges of theft[/caption]

Black, 34, had followed Alexandra Vaschuk – also known as Aleksa Viktorovna, 31 – from South Korea, where he was posted by the US army, to her home city Vladivostok, a Russian Pacific naval port.

According to the indictment, Black “grabbed the woman by the neck” during a quarrel.

The Primorsky region prosecution service said: “He is charged with a threat of murder with grounds to fear the threat might be fulfilled, and a theft inflicting considerable damage.”

State news agency Interfax reported: “The woman said she took his actions as a threat to her life.

“After that, Black, who had no money of his own, stole 10,000 rubles [£88] from the woman’s wallet and spent it on his needs, including a hotel room where he was found and detained.”

Earlier reports specified he had stolen a much higher amount – 200,000 rubles (£1,765) plus alcohol.

Black was taken into detention earlier this month and has been ordered to remain in a pre-trial detention until a new custody hearing in early July.

The charges he faces both carry sentences of up to two years.

The threat to kill charge under certain circumstances may carry a maximum five year sentence.

There is evidence the US serviceman was planning to leave Vladivostok when he was detained as he had reportedly bought a flight ticket.

The Russian woman – who has been pictured with a gun – is known to have lived in South Korea previously, and this appears to be where they met and started a “romantic relationship”.

Pictures showed them enjoying meals out together in January and earlier.

Russian reports earlier stated that two weeks after coming to Vladivostok the US army staff sergeant – who is reported to be married – “beat his beloved and stole 200,000 roubles from her”.

Russian foreign ministry officials earlier said the case is “not related to politics or espionage”.

It is believed Black underwent lengthy questioning from the Russian authorities when he arrived in the country, but was then allowed to enter.

There are reports in Russia that the pair had known each other for several years.

A US army spokeswoman said following his detention: “The Army notified his family and the U.S. Department of State is providing appropriate consular support to the soldier in Russia.”

The soldier, from Red Bud, Illinois had been expected back in Texas for a new posting.

Black’s mother, Melody Jones, told the US media her son had gone to Russia to visit his girlfriend.

The Russian Interior Ministry said today that the woman had met Black in Korea where she worked and that they were “in a relationship”.

“On 10 April, the man came to the acquaintance’s house in the Far Eastern capital,” said the statement.

“Later, the applicant had a conflict with the acquaintance at home.

“After he left, the woman discovered that the money was missing and turned to the police for help.

“Police officers found the suspect in one of the city hotels. He had purchased air tickets and intended to fly home.”

The arrest comes amid suspicions that Russia is seeking to hold US citizens to be used as bargaining chips to secure the release of Russians convicted abroad.

Falsely jailed Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, 32, has remained in pre-trial detention for over 26 months of bogus charges of espionage.

Russian officials have not yet provided any evidence to back up their baseless allegations.

Paul Whelan, 54, a former US Marine, is also classified as wrongfully detained in Russia by Washington.

At least two American citizens arrested in Russia in recent years, including basketball star Brittney Griner, have been exchanged for Russians jailed in the US.

East2WestBlack is accused of grabbing Vashuk (pictured with a gun) by the neck[/caption]

The pair – believed to have known each other for several years – are pictured having a mealEast2West

Black is accused of stealing 10,000 rubles from herEast2West

How you can get help

Women’s Aid has this advice for victims and their families:

Always keep your phone nearby.
Get in touch with charities for help, including the Women’s Aid live chat helpline and services such as SupportLine.
If you are in danger, call 999.
Familiarise yourself with the Silent Solution, reporting abuse without speaking down the phone, instead dialing “55”.
Always keep some money on you, including change for a pay phone or bus fare.
If you suspect your partner is about to attack you, try to go to a lower-risk area of the house – for example, where there is a way out and access to a telephone.
Avoid the kitchen and garage, where there are likely to be knives or other weapons. Avoid rooms where you might become trapped, such as the bathroom, or where you might be shut into a cupboard or other small space.

If you are a ­victim of domestic abuse, SupportLine is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 6pm to 8pm on 01708 765200. The charity’s email support ­service is open weekdays and weekends during the crisis – messageinfo@supportline.org.uk.

Women’s Aid provides a live chat service – available weekdays from 8am-6pm and weekends 10am-6pm.

You can also call the freephone 24-hour ­National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247.

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