Jailed U.S. Soldier Was Warned Against Visiting Girlfriend in Russia

Gordon Black Via Facebook/via Reuters
Gordon Black Via Facebook/via Reuters

The parents of Gordon Black, an American soldier who was arrested in Russia last week, had warned him against flying to the city of Vladivostok to meet his “girlfriend,” according to his stepfather.

Black’s stepfather, Martin Jones, told The Daily Beast that the American soldier had mentioned wanting to visit Russia when they last spoke over Facebook a few weeks ago.

“He mentioned it once and we told him, ‘Don’t you dare do it,’” Jones, 53, said in a phone interview. “I told him he needs to get back to the States. That’s all I told him. I told him he had no business being there.”

U.S. Staff Sergeant Gordon Black is featured in numerous videos posted on TikTok by Aleksandra Vashchuk, a Vladivostok native who refers to Black as her “husband.” The two are shown together in South Korea, where Black was based and Vashchuk reportedly lived for a number of years.

Black’s partner had moved back to Russia after being deported from South Korea a while back, Jones said, adding that the U.S. soldier’s “so-called girlfriend” was the reason Black went on the trip.

U.S. Soldier Arrested in Russia Last Week: Army

“There was some woman involved… He had been seeing her for a good while. Apparently she was living in South Korea until she was deported,” he said. “I have a feeling that she had a lot to do with it,” Jones said, adding that he learned of the arrest last Thursday.

According to Black’s stepfather, Jones had left the U.S. for South Korea two and a half years ago, “and the army kept extending him there. He was only supposed to have been there for a year.”

“We’re very worried and it’s been very stressful,” he added.

In one Tiktok video apparently shot after Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Black expresses sympathy for Moscow, saying “America… I think NATO is pretty aggressive, honestly. I understand Russia’s position, obviously. They want to defend their country.”

Vashchuk set her TikTok profile to private on Tuesday as details on the case against Black trickled out. A Telegram channel known to be close with Russian law enforcement said Black had been placed in a cell with other “first-timers” who are struggling to communicate with him in English.

The channel also claims Black has a history of beating Vashchuk, who is said to have called the police on him over an incident in South Korea. He’s charged with “theft causing significant damage to a citizen,” which carries a maximum penalty of five years behind bars.

Unnamed U.S. officials told the AP that Black and his Russian girlfriend had gotten into a “domestic dispute” last fall while they were in South Korea and she left the country shortly after.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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