U.S. citizen detained in Russia alongside U.S. soldier | WORLD
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U.S. citizen detained in Russia alongside U.S. soldier

Masked and armed police officers in Russia Associated Press/Photo by Misha Japaridze, file

U.S. citizen detained in Russia alongside U.S. soldier

Russian state media reported on Monday that Russian authorities had detained an American citizen, William Russell Nycum, on charges of “petty hooliganism.” The U.S. State Department confirmed to WORLD on Tuesday that a U.S. citizen was being detained in Russia but did not elaborate on that individual’s identity.

Is this individual the same as the soldier detained in Russia last week? Russian state media late on Monday identified that soldier as Staff Sgt. Gordon Black. U.S. Army spokeswoman Cynthia O. Smith confirmed Black’s identity to WORLD on Tuesday. Smith confirmed to WORLD on Monday that Russian authorities had detained a U.S. soldier last week for criminal misconduct, but she did not identify the soldier at the time. Russian authorities arrested Black for theft, according to Russian state media. The report also cited Russian officials saying his detention had no relation to politics or espionage.

What about the other Americans detained in Russia? Russian authorities have kept Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich imprisoned for more than a year ever since arresting him for allegedly engaging in espionage-related activities. Gershkovich denies any wrongdoing. A former U.S. Marine, Paul Whelan, is also serving out a 16-year prison sentence in Russia on espionage charges. Whelan denies wrongdoing, as well. U.S. officials in 2022 secured the release of WNBA star Brittney Griner, who spent roughly 10 months imprisoned in Russia after authorities arrested her for drug possession. She pleaded guilty to the charges against her.

Dig deeper: Read my initial report in The Sift about the detention of the U.S. soldier in Russia.

Josh Schumacher

Josh is a breaking news reporter for WORLD. He’s a graduate of World Journalism Institute and Patrick Henry College.

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