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A Russian court has officially sentenced an American soldier to nearly four years in prison after he pleaded guilty to theft.

Staff Sgt. Gordon Black, 34, was convicted in Vladivostok for stealing and making threats of murder, receiving a sentence of three years and nine months. In addition, the court also imposed a fine of 10,000 rubles (approximately $115) on Black.

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Black, who was arrested on May 2 and held in pretrial detention, confessed to the charges with the assistance of an English translator. He was accused of stealing from his girlfriend during an unauthorized trip to Russia, leading to his arrest.

The Department of Defense has confirmed that Black traveled to Russia for “personal reasons” while he was transferring from his station in South Korea to a new post in Texas.

Gordon Black

Digging Deeper:
Black’s mother claims he was deceived by his girlfriend, Aleksandra Vashchuk, and subsequently framed. Despite assurances from the Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry that Black’s case is unrelated to politics or espionage, both the State Department and Pentagon are still investigating the circumstances surrounding his arrest.


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